(lubavitch.com) After two years of speculation about the condition of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah terrorists on the Israel-Lebanese border in the summer 2006, the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were transferred to Israel earlier today.
The two black coffins, delivered to the Israeli military as part of a swap in which Israel released five Lebanese prisoners, among them a notorious terrorist, were first confirmation that both soldiers were dead.
“It is a truly black day,” said Chabad’s Rabbi Dovid Meir Drukman, who is chief rabbi of Kiryat Mozkin where the family of Eldad Regev resides. Drukman has been in close contact with the family throughout their ordeal, and was with them today. Though he acknowledged that the return of the bodies allows for the soldiers to finally receive a Jewish burial, the swap brought bitter closure to the families who’ve endured two years of campaigning for their return.
“This is a tragic ending to a very drawn out saga of great anguish,” said Rabbi Drukman. The families’s pain, he said, “is reflective of the feeling that prevails today in Israel at large.”
Rabbi Moshe Oirechman, Chabad representative to the area, visited the Goldwasser family, and lit memorial candles as is customary. Chabad representatives spent time with both families, and in the course of the day, encouraged many of the locals who turned out to express their sympathy, to do a mitzvah in memory of the soldiers.