The remains of Israeli soldier Majdi Halabi, who disappeared in 2005, were discovered yesterday just a short distance from his family home.
Halabi, a member of the Druze Arab community, had last been seen in May 2005 at a bus station in his home town of Daliat al-Carmel in the north of the country, setting out for his base near Haifa. He was declared missing in action on 6 June 2005. Halabi’s body was discovered yesterday by a worker who had been conducting clearing work in a forest just several miles from the Halabi family home. Halabi will be buried today at the Isfiya military cemetery.
Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum, including the Prime Minister sent their condolences to the Halabi family, which tragically lost another son in a car crash just a year ago. Haaretz quoted Halabi’s father Nazmi, saying “We always believed that we would see Majdi come home, in full health. But unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
The Haaretz report also speculated that the Halabi family will demand explanations from the authorities over why it took so long to discover the soldier’s body. Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara, himself a member of the Druze community visited the Halabi family and commented, “It’s inconceivable that so much effort and money was invested, and seven years later, the body is found a few kilometres away from his home. Someone must answer all these questions.”
The discovery of Halabi’s body means that five IDF soldiers remain missing in action. They are Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman who went missing after the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yacoub; Ron Arad, who was captured in Lebanon in 1986 and Guy Hever who has been missing since August 1997.