The family of IDF soldier Sgt. Oron Shaul, Hy”d, 20, went public on Sunday with a plea for the return of his body by the Gaza terrorist organization Hamas.
The family held a press conference at their home, after months of behind-the-scenes contacts with Hamas have not borne fruit in securing the return of his remains after being presumed killed in action during the 2014 fighting in Gaza.
“The current situation has to change,” Oron’s mother said. “This requires us to change our strategy. We have no doubt that we must think differently in order to bring Oron and Hadar [Goldin] home.”
Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu directly, she said: “Despite the efforts that have been made or not, we have not seen a change in the situation and Oron has not been returned home. Mr. Prime Minister, a year and a half and the situation remains the same.”
Turning to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, she demanded concrete evidence that they are holding the body. Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli soldier, believed to be Shaul, but would not say whether he was alive or dead.
“As soon as you prove it, we will turn over everything in this country and in the world to make sure a deal goes through,” she promised. “I demand from my country: return my son Oron, along with Hadar Goldin,” Oron’s mother promised.
Last summer, Israel reportedly initiated unofficial negotiations for his body and that of another soldier, Hadar Goldin Hy”d. However, a Hamas source said the issue would not be discussed until Israel releases all detainees who were exchanged for Gilad Shalit and then rearrested when Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered three teenagers near Chevron.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon had promised to obtain the bodies, saying: “It is obvious to us that Oron’s body is being held by Hamas, and we are doing everything we can to return it.”