Hundreds Bury Dad of Soldier Killed in Gaza Whose Remains Still Held by Hamas

Netanyahu vows to pursue efforts to return Sgt. Oron Shaul's remains from a 2014 Gaza war as his father, Herzl Shaul is buried after losing his own battle with cancer on Friday.

Netanyah at the funeral of Herzl Shaul, father of Oron Shaul, who was killed in Gaza, September 4, 2016.
Abdullah Shama

Herzl Shaul, father of slain Israeli soldier, Sgt. Oron Shaul, whose remains have been held by Hamas since a 2014 Gaza war, was buried on Sunday in northern Israel, his funeral attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.

Shaul died at 54 on Friday of cancer, survived by his wife Zahava and sons, Ofek and Aviram. Funeral rites were held at the cemetery in Poriya, a town near Tiberias, where the family lives.

Eulogizing Shaul before hundreds of mourners, Netanyahu pledged to pursue efforts to restore his son's remains. "The commitment is alive and well, it is at the top of our interests and we will not let up," the prime minister said.

President Reuven Rivlin expressed his regrets "that you didn't live to bring your beloved son home," and swore that Israel would stand up to its "commitment to bring Oron to his final resting place, alongside you."

Hundreds attend the funeral of Herzl Shaul, father of Oron Shaul, who was killed in Gaza, September 4, 2016.
Abdullah Shama

The family had campaigned in vain in July to press for their son's remains to be returned as part of a reconciliation deal with Turkey, a country that wields influence with Hamas. 

Herzl fell ill about a year after his son's death in Operation Protective Edge.  Oron Shaul, 21, at the time of the war, had been listed as missing because his remains hadn't been found, until this past June when rabbis ruled that the details regarding his death were enough to list him as dead.

Another IDF soldier,  Lt. Hadar Goldin had also been listed as missing after the war but some of his remains were later recovered and buried in Israel.

The IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot also pledged at the funeral "that the IDF will continue to stand by your side and make every effort to return" Shauls remains.

Rivlin, Netanyahu, Lieberman and Eisenkot during the funeral of Herzl Shaul, father of Oron Shaul, who was killed in Gaza, September 4, 2016.
Abdullah Shama

Nissim Shaul, Herzl Shaul's brother called it a "national mission and the government's obligation to conduct searches and bring Oron home."