The missing children affair—the mysterious disappearance of infants and young children, most of them of Yemenite background, in the early days of Israeli statehood—has attracted much public attention in recent decades. Between 1967 and 2001, the Israeli government established three commissions of inquiry that rejected the theory that the state itself administered the kidnapping of the children, but none of the commissions has been able to fully clarify the affair. This article surveys public awareness of the affair since the early 1950s—when public awareness of it was extremely low—to early 2018, when more than 80 percent of Israeli society believed the Israeli government to be responsible. The article analyzes why the commissions played a substantial role in shaping the public and scholarly discourse about it. Ironically, the commissions strengthened societal trust in the kidnapping allegation, which stands in contradiction of their own interpretation.

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