Israel buries its dead returned by Hezbollah

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Israel buries its dead returned by Hezbollah

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Thousands of mourners have been to the funerals of two Israeli soldiers, whose remains were returned home by Hezbollah in a prisoner exchange.

At the military cemetery in Haifa, Eldad Regev was buried with full honours.

It brought to an end two years of uncertainty for his family and friends, who had waited for news since he was taken by Hezbollah in July 2006 close to the Lebanese border.

The family of Ehud Goldwasser, the soldier whose remains were returned at the same time, were also there.

Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barack attended both funerals.

Hours before, as Goldwasser’s remains were buried in Nahariya, Barack promised that Israel would make every effort to retrieve other captive soldiers, including Gilad Shalit abducted by militants from the Gaza Strip in 2006.

The funerals, broadcast live on Israeli television, stood in stark contrast to the celebrations seen earlier in Lebanon.

The country’s newspapers reflected a feeling of bitterness over the contrasting scenes of joy and sorrow in the two countries.

In an editorial, The Jerusalem Post wrote about the festivities over the border, saying “a more undignified and morally offensive spectacle is hard to imagine.”