Family of slain soldier demands he be declared ‘missing’

Zahava and Herzl Shaul, the parents of slain IDF soldier Oron Shaul, demanded that the IDF change the status of their son on Thursday night, from a fallen soldier with an unknown burial place to “missing.”

The family asked to change the status “due to the uncertainty that arises from the IDF’s report about Oron’s status,” it said in a statement.

“For a year and a half we sat quietly and gave license to politicians and the security establishment,” they added. “Given the fact that there appears to be no progress, the situation must be examined through a different lens and bring new ideas that will advance the situation so Oron can return home.”

The statement follows a stormy week for the Shauls. Zahava Shaul turned directly to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during an emotional press conference Sunday night, calling for both to strike a deal that would return Oron’s body.

Hamas rejected the Shauls’ request hours later, stating it would only release information about the two soldiers in exchange for the release of terrorists who were rearrested after the abductions and murders of three Israeli teens in summer 2014.

While both the Shaul family and the family of slain soldier Hadar Goldin have taken to the press to demand a change in tactics regarding the case – and politicians emerged supporting that request – analysts have warned that Hamas is deliberately using the Shaul family’s distress to their advantage so as to force Israel into making concessions.