I was seven or eight years old when my grandmother lied to me for the first time. Sold me a story about a baby she had a little before she had my father, and who disappeared. I was just a young boy, and I loved her, and believed every word. And later on it turned out that this was actually the second child that disappeared, at least according to her, and I still didn't understand she is lying.
In the years that passed since, I discovered that there are thousands of liars just like her (by the way, almost all of them Yemenite), and that probably they all coordinated the stories with each other, I don't know when, maybe in the Hashed Transit Camp before coming to Israel. Probably, they were thinking how to cheat the state, so they decided to say that their children disappeared and hope for compensation. Unbelievable what people will do for money, oh well, what can we expect, Yemenites….
But it didn't work out for them. They didn’t succeed in tricking people. Three investigative committees checked, and reached the conclusion that no such thing had ever happened: my grandfather and grandmother are two liars, them and thousands other parents like them--thus the committees adjudicated. And truly, think about it, do you really think that such a thing could've happened? Do you think it's logical that thousands of children disappeared just like that, and the earth kept spinning this whole time? Does it seem logical that, if this story really happened, you wouldn't have learned about it in the “History of Zionism" class? Every thinking person understands that this whole affair is total rubbish, just a lame attempt to extort money from the establishment (maybe they were jealous of the people who received reparations from Germany)
The truth is that most of the accomplices to the conspiracy already died, including my grandfather and grandmother. At least they won't be lying anymore.
So here goes: my grandfather and grandmother lost one son, Gamliel, during the late 40s, and another boy, Amnon, in the early 50s. In the 60s, my grandmother went through a series of psychiatric hospitalizations because she couldn't handle the loss. In the family, people were ashamed to talk about it. I don't think there's anything to be ashamed of. Decades later, my grandmother would still leave all of the blinds in the house open, day and night, summer and winter, so that if one of them returned, they wouldn't think there's no one home.
Throughout all the years of my youth, my father wouldn't fall asleep until I got back home, even when it was already early morning
--"Toval, is that you?"
It took a while until I finally realized why it was like this.
After my youngest son, Gilad's, Bris (Brit-Milah), my paternal aunt approached me, hugged me and cried, "i wanted you to name him something that starts with Gimel, but I was too shy to ask." Gamliel, her brother, is still on her mind, all day, all hours. Sixty years later, you live the trauma, and the loss still reverberates.
Gamliel Madmon disappeared in Hadera, September 1946. Disappeared from the streets during a family occasion, it's a crazy story in itself, and in the past no one even thought it was related to the Yemenite Children affair. Only years later did family members, who were involved in the searches, hear of similar anecdotes about such disappearances and then they connected it to the affair. In the weeks after the disappearance, the whole neighborhood was involved in searches in all the area. My dad's uncle, for two-three years, went around Arab villages (dressed up as an Arab) to try to find a hint; the Arabs were the immediate suspects… The same uncle, a year before he died, told me that now it's clear to him that this was part of the affair (after he heard similar stories.)
Amnon Madmon disappeared from Rambam Hospital on 8 May, 1950.
My grandfather, Yefet Madmon, passed in 1988. My grandmother, Shama (Zippora) Madmon, passed in 1995. They lived in Hadera from when they immigrated until they died.
My grandfather and grandmother lost one son, Gamliel, during the late 40s, and another boy, Amnon, in the early 50s. In the 60s, my grandmother went through a series of psychiatric hospitalizations because she couldn't handle the loss
Decades later, my grandmother would still leave all of the blinds in the house open, day and night, summer and winter, so that if one of them returned, they wouldn't think there's no one home