Rachel and Saadia Tam

Yisraela Tam, 3 months old, disappeared from the Nahariya hospital.

Her late parents’ names were Rachel and Saadia Tam.

Year of immigration to Israel: 1949

Birth in Israel: 1949

Child’s name: Yisraela

Place of residence at the time of the kidnapping: Ein Shemer

No death certificate received

No place of burial indicated

There are nine siblings in the family -- those that were born after Yisraela, the eldest who disappeared: Rachamim of blessed memory, Tzipora, Rivka, Esther, Eliyahu, Hadassah, Shlomo, Moshe and Mordechai.

The parents, the late Rachel and Saadia Tam, immigrated to Israel from Yemen in 1949 and arrived at the Ein Shemer immigrant camp. Half a year later, their first child was born. They called her Yisraela. The nurses used to circulate through the Ein Shemer camp, purportedly to check how the children were doing. They came to the tent and asked to take the three-month-old girl to the hospital for tests. Her mother Rachel knew it was not necessary, that the child had a cold but was utterly healthy. The nurses answered her that she looked unwell, and they evacuated the baby to the Nahariya hospital. Her father, Saadia, accompanied her. In the hospital they informed her father that she needed to stay for an examination; they told him to leave and return the next day.

Her father came the next day and found the baby’s bed empty. He asked the doctors where his daughter was; they replied, “We’re sorry to inform you that your daughter died.”

Her father asked that they let him at least bury her. They told him, “We’ll bury her shortly; because you are new immigrants and don’t have the money, we will take care of everything, there is nothing to concern yourselves with.”

The father believed them; he was a guileless man, and when he came to Israel he believed that none were more holy or innocent than his Jewish brothers. He returned to the camp. The mother asked how the baby was doing.

He said to her that he had been told she died. She didn’t believe it, and she didn’t accept it.

Later, Father heard about other families who reported similar incidents that had befallen them; children had gotten sick, been taken away, and disappeared.

He heard that there were kidnappings of children -- that they were disappeared, not dead. Then he began to grasp that something had happened here, and he told his children that he did not forgive himself for not insisting on seeing his daughter.

One sister, Esther, recalls that Mother used to sit, bow her head and cry. When asked “Why are you crying?” she said, “Abeki elaa abenati” [Arabic] -- “I’m crying for my daughter.”

Mother told Esther that the daughter who disappeared looked like her.

One brother, Eliyahu, tried to locate his sister and when he was 19, a soldier, he went to the Nahariya hospital to request his sister’s medical file. He was told “We don’t know what you are talking about.”

The family contacted the investigation committee that was conducted during the affair of Rabbi Uzi Meshulam.

Judge Cohen was on the committee as well as a Yemeni man who, to our woe, seemed to be a plant and asked self-righteous questions like, “Why was the girl called Yisraela? Indeed, it’s not a Yemeni name” as if what he meant to say was, “What do you mean you have such a sister?,” as if I was making it up.

The sister Esther asked to attend the committee; she said it was in her blood. She was told that she could attend but she would not be allowed to speak there; only one person speaks at the committee.
Esther recounts that after the families testified, a nurse went up to testify and denied everything. She said the children were already ill when they arrived, that they lived in difficult conditions in the tents, and that they ate a “yellow food with a stinking smell.”

Eliyahu testified and recounts that the answers he received from the committee were “ludicrous answers.” In the examination of the committee, it was determined that the baby died of pneumonia.

It was said that she was buried by the Chevra Kadisha [the Jewish burial society] of Haifa, in a mass grave in Haifa.

Her parents, Rachel and Saadia Tam of blessed memory, passed away grief-stricken at an early age about 30 years ago.

Father believed them, he was a naïve man and when he came to Israel he believed that no one is more holy and pure than his Jewish brothers

The sister Esther told that mother sat, lowering her head and crying, I asked her why are you crying, she answered, “I cry for my daughter.