MIA IDF soldier fallen in First Lebanon War laid to rest 37 years late in Jerusalem
Days after the remains of fallen Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel, who went missing in Lebanon in 1982, were brought to Israel, hundreds of people gathered at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem for his funeral.
Baumel’s family received his remains yesterday after forensic scientists in Tel Aviv confirmed by DNA test that the body belonged to the Brooklyn-born soldier.
President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials attended the event.
“Zachary, 37 years ago – just a few days before the battle in which you fell – you wrote to your parents: ‘Don’t worry, everything is fine, but it seems that I won’t come home anytime soon,'” eulogized Rivlin. “37 years have passed since that letter, you’ve come home, to this country’s land, to Jerusalem.”
“Today, we can say with full confidence that we are doing everything – both incomprehensible and unbelievable – in order to fulfill our promise to return the sons who did not return from battle,” he added.
Earlier today, Russia returned the military uniform, shoes and other items found at the Yarmouk refugee camp, near Damascus, that belonged to Baumel at a ceremony held at the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“Russia considers it its duty to search for MIAs and that is what we will do,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian soldiers, together with Syrians, found the remains of IDF Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel 37 years after going missing in action in the battle of Sultan Yaaqub in the First Lebanon war.
The Russian president told Netanyahu that he realized it was important for the family of Zachary Baumel to be able to visit his gravesite.
Baumel was one of six soldiers who went missing in Lebanon on June 11, 1982, at the beginning of the First Lebanon War, fighting against Syrian forces.
Twenty IDF soldiers were killed in the battle, one of Israel’s worst failures in the war. Two soldiers were taken captive and the body of a third missing soldier was returned in 1984 and 1985. The whereabouts of two others, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz, are still unknown.