Wednesday, 24 Apr 2019 - 19 of Nisan, 5779

At Moscow meet, Israel’s PM Netanyahu thanks Russian President Putin for his help in the return of remains of Zachary Baumel

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’I would like to thank you, my friend, for myself and for the people of Israel, for what you have done, for the brave friendship between us, which is very important for our country and is very important for the relations between us. But I think that here it is on a higher level and has expressed a great common value that unites our two peoples. I would like to thank you on behalf of the entire people of Israel.”

MOSCOW—During a meeting in  Moscow on Thurday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin for his help in the return of the remains of missing Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel.

Zachary Baumel was one of three Israeli soldiers whose remains were never found in the aftermath of the Battle of Sultan Yacoub between Israel and Syria in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley during the First Lebanon War in 1982 in which 21 Israeli soldiers were killed and 30 more were injured.

Baumel’s body has been returned to Israel 37 years later, announced the Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday.

His remains were flown back on an El Al airplane, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

At the Kremlin in Moscow, Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks in meeting with President Putin : ‘’You have just now expressed the supreme value that you and the Russian people ascribe to finding the missing and bringing soldiers to burial. This is our common value.

Therefore, two years ago I turned to you with a personal request – that you help us in finding the remains of the soldiers, including Zachary Baumel, out of the great shared values of comrades-in-arms and fellowship of soldiers. You responded immediately. You said that you would act personally. You called on your people who did exceptional work and several days ago, you brought us the late Zachary Baumel, to Israel, and he will be buried in Jerusalem this evening.’’

He added, ‘’I would like to thank you, my friend, for myself and for the people of Israel, for what you have done, for the brave friendship between us, which is very important for our country and is very important for the relations between us. But I think that here it is on a higher level and has expressed a great common value that unites our two peoples. I would like to thank you on behalf of the entire people of Israel.”

Following their meeting, Putin and Netanyahu attended an official Russian Defense Ministry honor guard ceremony at which the Israeli Prime Minister received the Baumel’s additional personal effects in an Israeli flag-draped coffin.

Netanyahu was set to accompany the coffin back to Israel for Baumel’s funeral scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Israel.

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