The mother of an Israeli soldier who was killed more than four years ago, and whose body is still being held by Hamas, expressed appreciation on Thursday that the remains of Sgt. First Class Zachary Baumel, an Israeli soldier killed in the 1982 Lebanon War, has been returned to Israel.
“We were deeply moved to learn that Zachary Baumel was finally returned home for proper burial in his beloved homeland,” said Leah Goldin, whose son Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed on Aug. 1, 2014, during a ceasefire from “Operation Protective Edge.”
“The pain and anguish of losing a son and not knowing his fate is indescribable,” she continued. “We send our prayers to the Baumel family as they finally have closure after almost 40 years.”
The funeral for Baumel, who was killed in the First Lebanon War in 1982, has been scheduled for Thursday evening at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
“From the news reports, we learned that Zachary’s return was a direct result of the heroic actions of the [Israel Defense Forces],” said Goldin. “Blood money was not paid to terrorists to bring him home. It was the courage and determination of the IDF not to leave a soldier behind that ultimately brought Zachary home.”
“For almost five years, we have asked the political and military leaders of our country to act courageously to bring our son home from Gaza,” she continued. “Instead, we learn that deals are made with terror supporting nations and money is delivered directly to the Hamas terrorists that have Hadar’s blood on their hands.”
Nonetheless, said Goldin, “Zachary’s return ends a long and difficult chapter for the lives of the Baumel family and the entire people of Israel. We hope that the leaders of Israel, both political and military, will again show the necessary courage and take the bold actions to bring Hadar home.”