IDF Refuses to Give Military Burial to AWOL Soldier Killed in Traffic Accident

Soldier's father says he will bury his son in the living room until the army grants him proper burial in military cemetery.

The family of an Israel Defense Forces soldier killed in a motorcycle accident threatened Sunday to bury their son in their living room, after the army refused to grant him an official military funeral.

Yaakov Sasson, father of IDF soldier refused military burial.
Eli Hershkowitz

 The soldier, Yair Sasson, had been declared by the army as a deserter at the time of his fatal accident. The IDF's municipal liaison officer visited the family hours after Sasson's death and informed them that he would not receive a military burial due to the fact that he had abandoned his army service.

"I plan to burry my son in the living room until the IDF buries him in a military cemetery,' the soldiers' father Ya'akov Sason said.

The elder Sasson said that he had been advised by rabbis to agree to a temporary burial until the matter was sorted out, but insisted that "the only temporary burial will be in my living room."

The family's lawyers sent a letter to the head of the IDF's adjutant general branch and the military attorney's office declaring that the fault here lay in the fact that there was no legal distinction between a deserter and an absentee. "A soldier does not stop being a soldier even when he is missing from his military service," wrote the lawyers.

Although Sasson had been missing from his military service since May 27, wrote the lawyers "he remained in contact with his commanders throughout that time and intended to return to his military service on Sunday June 27, less than 30 days after he took leave."

The soldier's father said that he was disgusted by the way the military had handled the case, calling it "a crying shame."