Rabbi Rafi Peretz
Rabbi Rafi Peretz Yoni Kempinski

United Right chairman Rabbi Rafi Peretz said that he found it difficult to contain his excitement at the return of the remains of Sergeant Zachary Baumel to Israel after 37 years.

"This is a very special moment. It is painful but awe-inspiring. I think that the people of Israel are great, that after 37 years Zachary Baumel is returned home. I accompanied this event as the chief military chaplain and met with the families. Their feelings are mixed, but I admit that the excitement and the joy are greater because we succeed in our greatness as a nation to bring their son home. The State of Israel does not give up - and this is very special," Rabbi Peretz said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

He said that during the period in which he served as the IDF Chief Rabbi, he maintained continuous contact with the Baumel family: "I was in contact with the family. We met, talked, supported, and encouraged them. This closes for me a circle of 37 years since Operation Peace for the Galilee. That's our ethos. This is the obligation we commit ourselves to each of our sons. We will make every effort to bring all our boys home."

Rabbi Peretz said that though the circle has been closed in the case of Zecharia Baumel, another circle remains open as far as he is concerned.

"I personally told the Shaul and Goldin families about the deaths of their sons, and since they have not returned home, I feel that Operation Protective Edge is not over. I say from here in the clearest possible manner: We have to act so that Hamas knows that the boys, our dear ones, are a burden and not an asset to Hamas. We will bring them home, I have no doubt about it."

Hebrew video:

הרב רפי פרץ מגיב להחזרת גופתו של זכריה באומל ז"ל

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