Yemenite Children Affair: Second grave to be opened Wednesday

Earlier this year, two graves were found under the headstone of Uziel Khoury, but it wasn't clear if either of the bodies was his.

 The Melamed family stands in front of Yossef's grave before it is opened. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
The Melamed family stands in front of Yossef's grave before it is opened.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The assumed grave of Yossef Melamed, who is considered to be one of the children in the Yemenite Children Affair, was opened on Wednesday in Tel Aviv's Nahalat Itzhak cemetery.

The opening of the grave was initiated by Melamed's family who are hoping to solve the mystery of what happened to their relative.

This is the second grave from the affair that has been opened after the Khoury family opened a grave a few months ago in an attempt to find their son who went missing around the time Israel was established.

What happened to Yossef Melamed

Yossef Melamed was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv when he was an infant, sometime between 1952-1953. The next day, hospital staff told his mother that he had died and had been buried by the staff overnight.

Years later, an IDF enlistment order arrived at the family home for Melamed, and an investigation by the Interior Ministry revealed that their records didn't say he was dead and instead had him recorded as leaving Israel in 1963, an entire decade after his supposed death.

 Israel forensic team members open Uziel Khoury's grave  for taking a DNA sample at the Sgula Cemetery on May 23, 2022 in Petah Tikva.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) Israel forensic team members open Uziel Khoury's grave for taking a DNA sample at the Sgula Cemetery on May 23, 2022 in Petah Tikva. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Around a month ago, two graves were found under the headstone of Uziel Khoury. Due to the condition of the bodies, it wasn't clear which, if either, was his.

A month before the last election in March 2021, the government approved a bill to award compensation to the families that were affected by the affair.

The Yemenite Children Affair

The Yemenite Children Affair was a process in which the children of many Yemenite olim disappeared in the first few years after the establishment of Israel. When the immigrants arrived, many of the children were very sick and taken to hospitals, and the linguistic difficulties and disorganized system meant that contact was cut between the children and their families, and the hospital staff couldn't notify them of their children's conditions.

Most of the children who went missing died of their illnesses and were buried without notifying their families, but there were suspicions that some of them were possibly illegally taken from the hospital and adopted without their family's knowledge.