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Grave of Yemenite Child To Be Opened for DNA Testing
A Yemenite Jewish family walking through the desert to a reception camp setup by the Joint Distribution Committee near Aden, Nov. 1, 1949. (Zoltan Kluger/Israel GPO)

Grave of Yemenite Child To Be Opened for DNA Testing

The grave of a Yemenite child who died in 1952 will be opened next week for retrieval of a DNA sample in order to prove to the boy’s family that he is, indeed, buried there and was not kidnapped and put up for adoption, Israel’s Health Ministry announced on Sunday. It is the first such test, requested by surviving family members, of children whose status is questioned as part of the Yemenite childrens’ affair. More than 1,000 families who immigrated to Israel mostly from Yemen, have alleged that their children were taken from Israeli hospitals and given for adoption to Jewish families both in Israel and Jewish communities abroad that could provide them with a less difficult life. Many of the families did not see a body or receive a death certificate.

The grave in the Segula cemetery in the central city of Petah Tikvah that will be opened is said to contain the remains of Uziel Houri, who was born in 1952 and fell ill a year later, when welfare services took him to a hospital for treatment but died and was immediately buried. A past inquiry into the child’s death confirmed that he did die and is buried in the grave. The retrieval of remains reportedly will take place at the state Abu Kabir Forensic Institute but will be observed by an expert named by the family.

Several state commissions of inquiry have found that the children did, indeed die of diseases and were not given away for adoption. The most recent probe, in 2001, acknowledged that some children may have been put up for adoption by individual social workers but not as port of a national effort. A $50 million compensation program was approved in 2021.

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