Search for sister 'abducted' in 1950s

September 3, 2010
Still searching: Abraham Saadia (right) and Moshe Sadia

Still searching: Abraham Saadia (right) and Moshe Sadia

Two brothers have re-launched a 60-year search for their lost sister, whom they believe to have been abducted from Israel in the 1950s.

Israeli-born Abraham Saadia, 52, and Moshe Sadia, 59, who now live in Prestwich, Manchester, advertised in the JC for their older sister, Shoshana.

They claim she was one of hundreds of Yemeni immigrant children stolen from refugee families during Israel's Operation Magic Carpet in the 1950s. Officials were accused of making money by selling refugee children for adoption by families abroad. The Israeli government repeatedly denied involvement during high-profile public inquiries in the 1990s, which concluded that the disappearances were a result of the chaotic refugee situation at the time, rather than anything sinister.

But the Saadia family think officials at an army hospital near Ramla, who said Shoshana had died, were responsible for her disappearance because they did not provide a body or death certificate. The brothers are also suspicious of a cover-up after army officers arrested their father for two days in 1967, to investigate a claim that Shoshana was in fact evading conscription.

Abraham Saadia recalled that the officers told his father: "Don't try to say she is religious or she died, she is still alive."

Mr Saadia, who works as a baker in Prestwich, said: "We just promised our mum we would carry on searching, until we see there is no chance to find any more information."

The brothers said their mother, who now lives in Kfar Saba, had never sat shiva for Shoshana. Their father, who died five years ago, ended a long investigation in the 1980s after Shoshana's Israeli citizenship number, released by the country's Interior Ministry, led the family to a dead end.

The Saadias are travelling to Israel in two weeks to put together any known shreds of evidence, including a birth certificate showing Shoshana was born on July 1, 1950 and a healthcare certificate which also names her.

Moshe Sadia, 59, who owns a property maintenance company and changed the spelling of his name after arriving in the UK in 1973, said he would understand if their sister did not want to know the family.

"Whatever she wants we will do, but we just want to know if she is alive."

Last updated: 10:06am, September 3 2010