Family of fallen IDF soldier says it found empty grave on Mount Herzl

IDF defends previous claim that soldier has been identified, is buried at military cemetery.

Soldiers march at Mt. Herzl on Independence Day 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Soldiers march at Mt. Herzl on Independence Day 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The family of a soldier killed during the Yom Kippur War independently dug up his grave Sunday at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, and found that there were no human remains, family representatives said.
Zion Tayeb was killed while manning his position on Mt. Hermon during the October 1973 war.
Initially, Tayeb and five others were considered missing in action after their post was raided by a Syrian commando unit.
Months later, the army said that it had found and positively identified the bodies of Tayeb and the other soldiers.
The family’s attorney, Shlomo Rahavi, told Channel 10 on Sunday that the family dug nearly two meters down before finding that the grave was empty. “They didn’t believe it, and thought it may have been a mistake,” he said.
There are two tracks that currently interest the family.
“On the first track, they want to know where their son Zion is buried – since he’s not buried in this section – and what became of him. On the second track, how is it possible that in 40 years, the family has received mistaken information in the best case, or misled in the worst case?” the attorney added.
In recent years, Tayeb’s family grew increasingly dissatisfied with the military authorities who they believe misled them when claiming that Tzion’s body was positively identified and buried on Mt. Herzl.
According to Army Radio, the Tayeb family believes that Zion fell into Syrian captivity, and that the military has not done all in its power to locate his remains.
The family has waged numerous legal battles against the IDF over the years.
Last month, the High Court of Justice rejected their petition for the state to exhume the remains in order to conduct official forensic tests.
“The family’s request to unearth the grave was examined by the High Court, which accepted the state’s position and determined that the body was positively identified and as such there was no cause for digging up the site,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement.
“The IDF pays its condolences to the family and will continue to accompany it as much as necessary,” it added.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.