JERUSALEM (JTA) — The family of an Israeli soldier killed in the Yom Kippur War discovered an empty grave after illegally exhuming the burial site.
After its finding early Saturday morning at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, the family of Zion Tayeb called for the Israel Defense Forces to set up an independent investigation, the Walla news website reported Sunday. Walla first reported the discovery of the empty grave.
Israel’s Supreme Court last year refused the family’s request to exhume the body in order to positively identify it as Tayeb’s.
“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 said in a statement after the exhumation, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Tayeb’s family reportedly had long suspected that his body was not recovered after he was killed on Mount Hermon on the first day of the war in October 1973.
The bodies of Tayeb and five other soldiers were missing following an attack by a Syrian commando unit. Several months later the Israeli army told the family that it had found the bodies and buried them on Mount Herzl.
Tayeb’s family believed he had been kidnapped alive and were suspicious about the body in the grave.