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Jonathan Cook – Israel’s stolen babies remains the state’s darkest secret

It is Israel’s darkest secret – or so argues one Israeli journalist – in a country whose short history is replete with dark episodes.

Last month Tzachi Hanegbi, minister for national security, became the first government official to admit that hundreds of babies had been stolen from their mothers in the years immediately following Israel’s creation in 1948. In truth, the number is more likely to be in the thousands.

For nearly seven decades, successive governments – and three public inquiries – denied there had been any wrongdoing. They concluded that almost all the missing babies had died, victims of a chaotic time when Israel was absorbing tens of thousands of new Jewish immigrants.

But as more and more families came forward – lately aided by social media – to reveal their suffering, the official story sounded increasingly implausible.

 Although many mothers were told their babies had died during or shortly after delivery, they were never shown a body or grave, and no death certificate was ever issued. Others had their babies snatched from their arms by nurses who berated them for having more children than they could properly care for.