A memorial service for the 69 sailors of the INS Dakar was held at Mount Herzl Wednesday, marking 46 years since it sank into the Mediterranean.
The submarine disappeared in 1968, while en route from Scotland to Israel. After a decades-long search, the wreckage was found between Cyprus and Crete in 1999. The submarine had sunk to a depth of 2900 meters, just 500 kilometers from the Israeli coast. An investigation indicated that the cause was technical failure - not an attack - but this has never been fully confirmed.
The ceremony was attended by IDF Chief of Staff, Major General Benny Gantz; Head of the Israeli Navy, Major General Ram Rothberg; Navy officers and soldiers; and members from the bereaved families.
Gantz stressed the importance of the Dakar incident as an illustration of the IDF's dedication to its soldiers.
"Dear families: this promise - to return all missing and captive soldiers to their homes, and not to give up searching for them - stands before us in the present as much as it has in the past," Gantz stated. "Even today, we do not stop our the quest to find missing soldiers."
"At this very moment special teams are at work whose goal is to locate missing persons - from the establishment of the state until now - who left their homes and their base to defend our people and were never seen again," he continued. "We are committed to continue efforts to find missing persons."
Gantz's remarks follow IDF statistics released earlier Wednesday, which included mention of 5 missing Israel soldiers who are still unaccounted for, and 179 soldiers killed in action whose burial sites have not been located. Reports indicating new quests to find missing soldiers Ron Arad (missing since 1986) and Guy Hever (1997) surfaced in late 2013, reminding Israelis that despite the length of time since their disappearances the IDF has not yet given up on them.