Sunday, May 31, 2009

"He never gave up on his faith - not for a moment ...

Yona Baumel dies without knowing MIA son's fate

May. 31, 2009

Yona Baumel, 81, died on Friday without fulfilling his heart's deepest desire: to discover the fate of his son Zachary, who was last seen on the Sultan Yakoub battlefield in Lebanon 27 years ago.
"In the last month of his life he understood that he was dying and it hurt him that he did not know what happened to his son," Rabbi Benny Lau told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night as he was on his way to Baumel's funeral at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in Jerusalem.
"He never gave up on his faith - not for a moment - not in God and not in the fact that his son had to be found," said Lau.
Baumel, a native of Brooklyn, New York, immigrated to Israel in 1970 with his wife Miriam and their three children, Shimon, Osna and "Zach," the youngest who was 10 at the time.
In June 1982, as Zach neared the end of his time in the IDF, his unit was surrounded near the village of Sultan Yakoub. Zach - along with Yehuda Katz, Zvi Feldman, Hezi Shai and Arye Lieberman - were unaccounted for after the battle.
Shai was captured by Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-General Command, and Lieberman by Syrians. He was returned in 1984 and Shai in 1985.
But no clear sign was ever received as to the fate of the other three soldiers, including Zach.
Rumors soon began to circulate that they had been kidnapped.
Several hours after the battle, Western journalists from Time magazine, the Associated Press, and La Stampa, as well as the Syrian media, reported that three Israeli soldiers from a tank crew were paraded through Damascus in a "victory march."
For full story click here
For the background story of the Battle of Sultan Yakoub click here

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