On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Moscow had delivered the remains of the Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel in cooperation with the Bashar al-Assad regime, who was lost during the Israeli war against Lebanon in 1982.
The Russian Defense Ministry statement said: “Russia delivered the remains of the Israeli tank brigade soldier Zachary Baumel, who had been missing for more than 37 years, to the Israelis. The remains of the Israeli soldiers were delivered by the Russian Defense Ministry to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, for him to be buried by his relatives in his mother country.”
Earlier today, Putin said that his country had found, with assistance from the Assad regime, the remains of the soldier and that it intended to return them to Israel to be buried.
Putin added: “We are very happy that they will be able to give him the necessary military honors at home and most importantly… that his close relatives will be able to bring flowers to his grave.”
The Russian president gave Netanyahu details of the search process for the Israeli soldier, saying: “As you know our soldiers in cooperation with Syrian partners found the place where he was buried.” He said that the matter was not easy for the special forces units.
This conflicts with stories from the occupation army on Wednesday that said the remains had been returned a few days ago.
Netanyahu thanked the Russian president for the assistance in recovering the Israeli soldier’s remains, saying at the outset of a meeting with Putin in Moscow: “I thank you my friend, in my name and in the name of the Israeli people, for what you have done, and for the strong friendship, which is very important for our countries, and for the relations between us. I think that they express a very great common value bringing our people together, and I thank you on behalf of the Israeli people.”
Netanyahu said that he had asked Russia for help two years ago and added that the burial ceremony for Baumel would take place on Thursday evening in Israel in the presence of his family and friends.
Baumel was commander of the 362nd Tank Brigade and was in the battle of al-Sultan Yaqoub against the Syrian army in the Bekaa plains in Lebanon near the Syrian border on Jun. 10 – 11, 1982.
Two other soldiers, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, are still missing, and they are a part of the collective memory in Israel, which considers the return of its soldiers, whether dead or prisoner, a moral duty.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.