Yehia and Hamama Salem

My parents Yehia and Hamama Salem immigrated to Israel in 1950.

Their son Rahamim Yehia was born in 1951. At around the age of 4 months he was hospitalized in Tel Aviv (Assuta) for inflammation of the eye, and was then transferred to the Eitanim hospital in Jerusalem.

My parents visited him in Jerusalem and said he looked great and in good health. The nurse told them that he was healthy and would be sent home, but the moment they returned from Jerusalem, a telegram arrived notifying them that he had died in 1952, and no body was provided. He was lost without a trace.

In 1968 we received a draft order and of course he did not show up. The army came looking for him and they were told by my parents that he had died when he was a baby. A week later a death certificate arrived from the Israeli police, which stated that he had died and was buried in the children’s plot in Har HaMenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem.

When the Uzi Meshulam affair came to light, we went to Har HaMenuchot and we searched for his grave, but it was all pure fiction, there was no grave in the name of Rahamim Yehia. The cemetery supervisor, who was touched by the story, told us that he would look through all the cemeteries in Jerusalem and come back to us with an answer. He did in fact call a week later to inform us that there was no Rahamim Yehia in any cemetery in Jerusalem. The Ministry of the Interior lists Rahamin Yehia as having ceased being a resident of Israel in 1963.

Eti Yehiel Yehia