Yona Zehavi

We immigrated to Israel from Sana’a, Yemen in late 1943 or ‘44. We came by boat.

I gave birth to the first one in Meir Hospital, which was in Kfar Saba. I gave birth in the year ‘56 (I was about 21 years old).

The first was three years old when I had my second.

The first child was born by Caesarean section.

After the first son I lay 12 days without moving.

They brought me a red-haired baby with a huge head, and I started to shout at them, “This isn’t my son!” My children are born with thick, black hair. Finally they brought me the child. Already at that time, they wanted to take him from me.

With the second it was the same; they brought him to me, then they said, “Leave him here a few days so he can get stronger,” and they didn’t even let me nurse him.

They brought everyone their baby for a little while, mine too, and they did not let me breastfeed him at all, only look at him. A full head of black hair, beautiful.

They gave me coupons (it was the austerity period) for the circumcision.

The day I left there I came home to my mother and I cried, Why did they keep him?

They gave me a pump to express milk. My husband would go there to deliver the milk, and the third time he went, they said he was dead. They didn’t give him the body. They told him, “Go home.”

After they took my son from me, I was in bed for two years in a depression. I couldn’t stand speaking with anyone; I couldn’t stand meeting people, in case they would ask me how I was doing. When I went to the doctor, he hinted that there was something wrong with me.

Years later, we went to the hospital archive in Kfar Saba -- they told us that all the material had been thrown away.

Yona Zehavi