Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attended today the funeral of soldier Zachary Baumel, who fell in the 1982 Lebanon war and whose body was recently recovered in Syria and repatriated to Israel this week.
"Bringing our children home touches the deepest part of our identity as Jews and Israelis," Netanyahu said during a ceremony in which he was surrounded by friends and family of the deceased on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Baumel disappeared in the night of June 10 to 11, 1982 in combat, in the battle of Sultan Yaacub, in Lebanese territory, and his body was found by Russian troops in Syria and returned to Israel three days ago.
Netanyahu, who traveled to Moscow today for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, personally thanked Russian mediation for recovering the remains of Baumel, after which he returned to Israel to attend the funeral.
The bodies of two other soldiers who remained missing since then and were found next to Baumel's, have not yet been delivered to Israel.
"Our soldiers, in the past, present and future, should know that we will not rest until everyone has returned home," Rivlin said during the funeral.
Israel keeps its borders closed with Lebanon and also with Syria, but maintains contacts with Russia to coordinate military interventions in the Syrian conflict, where Moscow supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as does Tehran, which Israel considers its main existential threat.