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Buried anonymous soldier from Israel's War of Independence identified 75 years after his death

Dov Broder and his wife Batya in 1947. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

Seventy-five years after Israel's 1948 War of Independence, the body of a Jewish soldier who fought and died during the war was finally identified.

The body of Private Dov Broder, who was considered missing in action at the time, was discovered in the Segula Cemetery in Petah Tikva in 2006 during an investigation led by the Missing in Action Accounting Unit, and finally identified after 17 years.  

Broder, who was killed in the War of Independence, was among the soldiers of the 33rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade that set out to capture an Arab village on May 13, 1948, the day before Israel declared its independence.

Broder was reportedly killed after his vehicle was hit, but his body was not identified at the time he fell in battle. As a result, he was considered missing in action and the site of his burial remained unknown.

According to the Times of Israel, the identification was highly complicated.

“The investigation included opening the grave to carry out genetic tests and an anthropological characterization of the remains; various engineering and ballistic research based on the events of the 1948 battle and their effects on the body; examining relevant documents from the state and IDF archives; and questioning witnesses, including from the battle.”

Broder was eventually identified by a gold ring that he was wearing when his body arrived at the hospital in Petah Tikva after being killed in battle. The ring, mentioned in documents used to identify Broder, fits the description provided by his widow.

Batya Broder, the 95-year-old widow of the fallen soldier Dov, was informed of the discovery of her late husband’s burial place by Maj.-Gen. Yaniv Asor, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Manpower Directorate. She said that she has been commemorating her late husband every Memorial Day.

“I never gave up,” she said. “We took part in a youth movement together, we served in the army together, and suddenly he disappeared. I didn't know who to turn to, or where to find answers. He made sure to always stay in contact.”

Asor said that the IDF had a moral and ethical obligation to announce the identification of Broder's body.

“This is not a joyous occasion, but one that ends the uncertainty, and from our perspective, it's a moral and ethical obligation that we owe Dov, as a military, as commanders and as a nation,” Asor stated.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said the investigation had unearthed a trove of information about Broder.

“The investigation’s findings bring forth a clear sequence of events detailing Dov Broder’s recruitment to the IDF as a driver in the Armored Corps, the impact to his armored vehicle during the battle, his evacuation to the hospital, and finally his burial at the military cemetery,” according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

“This process led to uncovering the anonymous soldier buried in the cemetery as being Broder himself.”

“In the near future, a ceremony will be held to replace the anonymous headstone in the cemetery with one holding Dov Border’s name after 75 years,” the IDF announced.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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