One element of the Lilith myth involves babies.
According to legend Lilith’s attraction for children comes from the belief that God took her demon children from her when she did not return to Adam. It was believed that she launched a reign of terror against women in childbirth and newborn infants, especially boys. However, it also was believed that the three angels who were sent to fetch her by the Red Sea forced her to swear that whenever she saw their names or images on amulets that she would leave the infants and mothers alone.
These beliefs continued for centuries. As late as the 18th century, it was a common practice in many cultures to protect new mothers and their infants with amulets against Lilith. Males were most vulnerable during the first week of life, girls during the first three weeks. Sometimes a magic circle was drawn around the lying-in-bed, with a charm inscribed with the names of the three angels, Adam and Eve and the words “barring Lilith” or “protect this newborn child from all harm.” Frequently amulets were place in the four corners and throughout the bedchamber. If a child laughed while sleeping, it was taken as a sign that Lilith was present. Tapping the child on the nose, it was believed, made her go away.
The theme of babies stolen from the crib is an ancient leitmotif in folklore. The myth of the changeling was that a good child could be stolen away by monsters, and sometimes replaced by an evil monster child.
Of course, stories about kidnapped children are generally disbelieved and regarded as superstitious nonsense, unfit for discussion in polite company.
Indeed, some powerful media celebrities try to suggest that claims of kidnapping are offensive and should be pre-emptively censored.
Shockingly, it seems that sometimes children really do get kidnapped.
After decades of silence, Israel has moved to bring some closure to the hundreds of parents whose children went missing under mysterious circumstances. Some argue the database on the so-called “Yemenite Children Affair” has only been partially declassified.
The 210,000 pages of declassified documents come as a result of three probes into the mysterious disappearances, which date back to the 1950s.
More than 1,000 families – mostly from the Middle East and North Africa, but also from Balkan countries – had since reported their infants being systematically taken from Israeli hospitals, and put up for adoption. The claims never stood up, and the latest effort to investigate the Yemenite Children Affair in 2001 concluded that the children had either died or been buried with the hospital authorities failing to notify the parents.
“The government is now taking action for the first time. [This step] erases the feeling of an opaque and disconnected establishment,” Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi told Army Radio. Hanegbi was also the one appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead the latest effort, which gave the green light for the release of 70 years of testimony and other evidence collected for the Israel State Archives.
“Today we right a historic wrong,” Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel. “For close to 60 years, people did not know the fate of their children, in a few minutes any person can access the pages containing all the information that the government of Israel has.”
Last June, Israeli police quietly began examining allegations of Netanyahu accepting about $1.1 million from accused French fraudster Arnaud Mimran in 2009.
His case in France was called the “heist of the century.” Netanyahu’s office denied receiving illegal donations. He accused Mimran of distracting attention from his own case.
Netanyahu’s wife Sara faced possible charges of using public funds for personal use. Rejecting police chief Roni Alsheich’s recommendation, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit declined to press charges while continuing to probe her activities.
Separately, Jerusalem’s Labor Court found her guilty of subjecting former employee Guy Eliyahu to humiliating treatment. Judge Dita Pruginin fined her around $30,000 in damages.
Following months of police inquiry into undisclosed Netanyahu financial activities, Attorney General Mandelblit approved opening a formal criminal investigation into alleged bribery and fraud.