Isaac and Esther Ben-Yaish

In 1948, my grandparents immigrated to Israel from Morocco aboard the ship “Negba” with their two daughters, my father, Shlomo Ben-Yaish who was four years old and his brother, David, who was two. At first, the family was housed in the Brandeis transit camp in Hadera. They were later transferred to Moshav Rinatya, located between Petah Tikva and Yehud, and several years later to Ashkelon.

A few days after our arrival in Israel David fell ill, probably due to the food provided on the ship. As a result, he was sent to the hospital then called Zamenhof by the village nurse, where he was hospitalized. My grandfather was sent home until the following day. When he returned the next day he was informed that the baby had died and was instructed to return home without receiving a death certificate or seeing the body.

They were innocent people who did not speak Hebrew at the time, they believed what they had been told, and lived with this fact and belief until their death.

In 1964, the year David was supposed to be 18, the family received a draft notice in his name and an election notice for the elections held at that time. At that point, the doubts and fears began. An inquiry with the Ministry of the Interior showed that the identity card still exists, but the current address is unknown.

In 1996 my father turned to the center of the committee of inquiry for the children of Yemen [affair]. The answer received on their behalf summarizes the incident details but the details as presented by them are partially erroneous and raise some additional questions:

1. The committee located an entry in the register of Deaths on September 28, 1949, for David Ben-Yaish aged one. In fact, he allegedly died a few days after the arrival of the family to Israel in 1948 at the age of two.

2. The committee supplied details for the cemetery where supposedly he is buried. An inquiry with Chevra kadisha vice president revealed that the deceased was brought in from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, not from Tel Aviv Zamenhof Hospital.

In fact, the committee deemed the event as death from an intestinal disease, despite the inaccuracy in evidence presented above.

I will briefly list some events that even if interpreted as unfounded, have caused us many sleepless nights in recent years.

Over the years and in different contexts, my brother and I met, separately, with rabbis, kabbalists and communicators of all kinds (not to be construed that the reason is cultural, but simply such a meeting happened in the past in different situations to each of us). Without mentioning the subject we have always been told that our uncle is still alive and we should not stop looking for him. Twenty years ago, before we even knew of the matter we were told that "father's brother is still alive, grown up and is employed in the United States." Later we were told that he actually lives in Israel and was raised by one of the senior directors of the Zamenhof Hospital at the time.

We started to investigate the matter privately and try to locate officials from that time, but given the absence of support and cooperation we soon realized that we faced closed doors.

Three months ago, my father turned to a Kabbalist who claimed she could see his brother lives in a community in the north and asked that we start again looking for him again. It is clear that the issue has been silenced over the years for unknown reasons, but the days are passing and the chances of finding his lost brother if indeed he is still alive seem very slim.

In light of all the information collected by us to date it is clear that these are not coincidences and clear to us that time is short and the work is plentiful (my father who is now 72 and his brother is supposed to be 70 years old).

Attached are relevant documents.

We will be happy to provide any further details required and to cooperate to achieve the goal,

Thanks in advance,

Iris Kelly


Shlomo Ben-Yaish and the whole family