After 37 years, the body of an IDF soldier has returned to Israel

Miriam and Yonah Baumel hold a picture of their son Zachary Baumel, who was taken prisoner of war in 1982, in Jerusalem on July 07, 2003. Photo: FLASH90

IN the 1982 Lebanon War Sgt. Zachary Baumel went missing.

This week he will be buried in Israel.

According to sources in Israel, an operation by Israeli intelligence agencies was able to repatriate the body earlier this week.

He was flown back to Israel on an El Al flight, identified through DNA testing and then IDF Major General Moti Almoz informed Baumel’s family.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish nation overnight and said that “tremendous efforts” had been made by the military and intelligence agencies to recover Baumel’s body and his tzitzit.

“He was a very devoted Zionist – this Zionism led him into the battle in which he fell,” Netanyahu said.

“He was considered missing for 37 years. For all those years, the State of Israel invested immense resources to resolve the riddle of his fate.”

Baumel’s father Yonah spent two decades searching for his son, but sadly he himself passed away 10 years ago.

Netanyahu spoke fondly about Yonah, and the disappointment he had that Yonah wasn’t alive to see his son returned.

“I remember well his pain when he spoke about his son, about his yearning, about his longing.

“He traveled the world in order to locate any piece of information about his missing son. Many times Yonah told me with tears in his eyes that he had one prayer: to find Zachary before he himself passed away.

“To our sorrow, Yonah passed away about a decade ago and is not with us today at this wrenching moment.”