||Kinot for the disappearance of Yemenite children from the airlift by the Israelis out of Yemen. Recent commissions have ascertained that the children were given to non-religious kibbutzim to remove their religious character.
The uproar over the education of Yemenite children in the immigrant moshav [cooperative agricultural settlement] of Amka, in the north of Israel, is one of the most flagrant examples of the kind of absorption that met new immigrants from Islamic countries in the first years of Israel's independence. The group most active in absorption at the time was the Mapai [Labor Party]-dominated Moshav Movement. Amka was among the moshavim singled out by both the religious press and religious parliamentarians as proof of the violation of the 1949 Compulsory Education Law, which guaranteed parents the right to choose a particular educational system for their children. Amka was pointed to as an example of anti-religious coercion perpetrated by the leading political party, Mapai, and the Israeli Left. In this period, however, Mapai members, led by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, and the first two ministers of education, Zalman Shazar and David Remez, vehemently refuted this charge. They fulminated in both the media and Knesset that such claims were libelous and totally unsubstantiated.
In the years that have passed, confidential documents from the highest echelons of Mapai have been made public, revealing that, among the party elite, it was common knowledge that the Moshav Movement was flouting the Compulsory Education Law and that anti-religious coercion was taking place at Amka. Moreover, a wealth of evidence shows that Mapai leaders were bitterly divided over the manner in which immigrants from Oriental backgrounds, including the Yemenites at Amka, should be assimilated into the country. On one hand, officials such as Shazar and Remez believed that anti-religious coercion must be avoided and that immigrant parents in all of the Moshav Movement's villages, like other parents throughout the country, should be allowed to choose their children's educational framework. On the other hand, leading figures in the Labor "system," such as Yaakov Halperin (Niv) (Head Supervisor), Yakov Sarid (a top official in Tel-Aviv), and the leaders of the Moshav Movement, especially Member of Knesset (MK) Ami Assaf, believed that their primary mission was to spread the Labor Movement gospel among as many pupils as possible. It was decided that, in every moshav affiliated with the Moshav Movement, only educational institutions associated with the Histadrut [the Labor Movement's trade union] would be permitted to operate. Aided by instructors and volunteers from veteran moshavim, public and Labor-affiliated organizations made full use of their power and compelled immigrant children to take their schooling in either the Labor or Religious-Labor system. Objecting parents were eventually expelled from the village.
Neturei Karta (Ha-Edah ha-Haredit), group of ultrareligious extremists, mainly in Jerusalem, who regard the establishment of a secular Jewish state in Erez Israel as a sin and a denial of G-d, and therefore do not recognize the State of Israel. Their name, which is Aramaic for “guardians of the City,” derives from a passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Hag. 76:3) stating that religious scholars are the guardians and defenders of the city. Neturei Karta broke away from Agudat Israel in 1935, when the latter attempted to restrain extremist demands for an independent ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem community completely separate from the rest of the Zionist community. The group first adopted the name Hevrat ha-Hayyim, after R. Joseph Hayyim Sonnenfeld. It aimed at creating “a circle free from the influence of the contemporary spirit and its fallacious opinions,” and a condition of membership was “the education of sons and daughters in the traditional Jewish manner, without any change (girls’ schools which teach Hebrew do not provide education in the traditional Jewish manner).” The last phrase alluded to Agudat Israel's Bet Ya’akov girls’ schools, where the language of instruction is Hebrew.