Two Fallen IDF Soldiers Recognized as 'Missing in Action or Captive'

Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul both disappeared in Gaza in 2014. The IDF defines them as killed in action; the new designation refers to the efforts to return their remains to their families.

Tomer Appelbaum

The Israel Defense Forces has decided to define two soldiers who are believed to have died in the 2014 war in Lebanon as both killed in action and missing or captive.

Until now, Goldin's status had been defined as killed in action, while Shaul was defined as killed in action whose place of burial was unknown. The difference between the two stems from the fact that parts of Goldin's body were retrieved and buried in Israel, while Shaul's body was never found.

The redefinitions were decided by the IDF's Manpower Directorate at the request of the Goldin family. The addition of the status "missing in action or captive" to their current "fallen" status is regarded as a means of ensuring that the efforts to return all their remains to Israel continue.

The next task is to formulate a procedure for regulating the treatment of the Goldin and Shaul families, as well as the families of other fallen soldiers in a similar position.

The Shaul family said it learned of the new designation from the media and expressed dissatisfaction with not being properly informed by the IDF ahead of time.

"The Shaul family wants to make it clear that it is incumbent on the new defense minister and prime minister to look into how the system is being managed and to ensure that such things do not happen in the future," the family said.

"It has been clear to us throughout that the correct status for Oron is prisoner of war and missing. We asked for it in the past and it is significant that they now believe a change of status is important – but the way it was done is not acceptable."