Israel Buries Soldier Missing Since 1982 War
An honor guard of Israel Defense Forces sergeant-majors carried a coffin bearing the remains of Zachary Baumel, an Armored Corps soldier who went missing during a battle against Syrian forces in eastern Lebanon in 1982, as he was buried Thursday evening at a military cemetery in Jerusalem. Baumel’s tank was disabled in Sultan Yaqoub and he was declared missing along with three other soldiers. One was eventually returned in a prisoner swap with a Palestinian group, but the fate of Baumel and the other two remained a mystery, with some believing they had been captured alive and taken back to Damascus with their tank. Baumel’s remains were recently located and exhumed, apparently in Syria, by Russian soldiers as part of a decades-long Israeli intelligence operation that saw Israel turn to Russian President Vladimir Putin for help on the ground. The whereabouts of the other two soldiers are still unknown. The US-born Baumel was posthumously promoted to sergeant-major, and President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli figures were present at his burial, carried live on television.