Tamar and Yitzhak Ma’atuf

Tamar Maatuf recounts:

I gave birth to the firstborn son in a tent in the Zarnuga transit camp, near Rehovot. Then my husband Yitzchak took him to Tzrifin, to the hospital, and I stayed in the tent because I did not feel well. I asked, “how is the boy?”, my husband said, "good, thank God" (meaning that the boy is healthy). He would go to visit him, until one day he was told that the boy was dead.

When that prompted protest and a huge outcry rose up on the subject, we went and talked with them. One time, they informed us that he was buried in Rehovot; three months later, we were told that he was buried in Rishon Lezion. We did not even get the joy of a brith [ritual circumcision] for him. We thought of calling him Shlomo.

We never once believed that he had died. They said at the Commission that he was buried - we went and asked for the location of the grave and they could not find it. I never forgot. The pain remains. God will help.

Avigad Maatuf, Shlomos brother:

According to my parents, the child wasn’t feeling well, and Dad took him to the hospital in Tzrifin. Every day, Dad would come to visit the child and saw that his condition was improving significantly. One day, Dad came to visit the boy and discovered that he was not there. He asked the hospital staff where the child was, and they told him that he was dead. Dad said to them: “so bring him. I will bury him.” They replied: “we already buried him”. Dad, may he rest in peace, was furious and was screaming at the hospital, but to no avail. They kicked him out in disgrace.

Dad appeared before the two Commissions of Inquiry, where they gave him a retroactive death certificate, which they had filled out there and then. We all would hear this story, all the siblings, every Friday night dinner for many years, until Dad passed away heartbroken. And Mom, may she be blessed with a good long life, is still weeping over her son to this very day. She believes that her son Shlomo is still alive and well.

We will keep telling the story of what happened until we find him.