Mother of soldier killed in Gaza war says PM doing ‘nothing’ to return his body

Zehava Shaul says she will never give up efforts to bring home Oron’s body for burial, tells Netanyahu ‘you can’t run from this… Wherever you go I will follow’

Zehava Shaul (center), mother of Oron Shaul, with supporters and family members protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence on August 9, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Zehava Shaul (center), mother of Oron Shaul, with supporters and family members protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence on August 9, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The mother of fallen Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, said Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done “nothing” to bring back her son in the five years since his death.

“The prime minister is not interested in returning my son,” Zehava Shaul said during a protest outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem.

“I sent him to the army, I sent him to [the Gaza war], and it’s your responsibility to bring him home.

“You can’t run away from this, because I’m telling you that if you don’t return him, I will follow you anywhere you go. I won’t release you from this. I’ll bring Oron back myself if I have to, so pay attention,” Shaul said in remarks directed at Netanyahu.

Zehava Shaul speaks during a press conference ahead of a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on August 5, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“You’ve have had many opportunities to bring back Oron and Hadar, but you’ve done nothing,” she said. “Its unfortunate that you keep playing with us, you know how to make a thousand promises, but not keep any of them, its unbecoming for a prime minister.”

Oron’s remarks came on the heels on the five year anniversary of the 2014 war in Gaza, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, in which Israel Defense Forces soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul were killed and captured by Hamas fighters. The terror group also holds captive Israeli civilians Avera Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

A composite photo of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul, left, and Hadar Goldin, right. (Courtesy)

The bereaved parents of the soldiers have expressed repeated frustration with Netanyahu and his government’s efforts to negotiate the return of their sons.

Avera Avraham Mengistu, undated. (Courtesy of the Mengistu family via AP)

In June, Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group reached a ceasefire agreement aimed at halting the launch of balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices from the Strip into southern Israel and reining in the general level of violence along the border, in exchange for a number of economic concessions.

According to Palestinian media reports at the time, Hamas sources said that Israel initially conditioned the negotiations on the terror group returning Goldin and Shaul’s bodies, but Hamas refused the demand.

Last month, the Goldin and Shaul families criticized Netanyahu again after he summoned them to his office, saying that “something very substantial had come up.”

Bereaved family members and friends of late Israeli soldier Oron Shaul hand out flyers and bumper stickers to people driving by as they demonstrate at the protest tent outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on June 27, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The families said they thought the premier had convened the meeting to personally notify them of their sons’ return, but instead Netanayahu invited them to attend a United Nations conference to raise awareness for their plight.

Leah Goldin left mid-way through the meeting in tears, and later accused Netanyahu of hosting the gathering as part of his reelection campaign.

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