July 19, 2024
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IDF Soldier’s Body Returning Home From Nepal

IsraeLife Delegation Lauded for Tremendous Rescue Efforts

The IsraeLife delegation to Nepal, with the participation of United Hatzalah, ZAKA, and F.I.R.S.T volunteers, has completed its mission of recovering the body of missing Israeli trekker Or Asraf and transferring the body to his family for a proper burial in Israel.

Working under treacherous conditions and over many hours, the team of volunteers, together with fellow soldiers from Asraf’s elite Egoz unit, retrieved the body from a steep slope on Monday afternoon. In a complex operation involving helicopters, the body and the rescue team were evacuated for return to Israel. The challenge was coordinated with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Yaron Mayer, and Chabad of Nepal.

In addition to searching for Asraf, the IsraeLife delegation treated hundreds of local residents in emergency mobile clinics that they brought to remote villages, and coordinated the return of Israeli tourists. The delegation will be returning to Israel in the coming days.

Eli Beer, president of United Hatzalah, said, “The IsraeLife mission of professional volunteers who went to rescue Or Asraf, who was unfortunately found killed, found in the same area evidence of other people who were probably killed there—most likely Europeans. All the evidence that our team found were transferred to the UN. I hope another mission will go out to find the people who were killed there. Our team sacrificed greatly to assist in providing aid to the devastated country and we are very proud of our volunteers and all our supporters.”

Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, chairman of ZAKA, said: “Only someone on his return from the mountainside, after working in such difficult conditions and terrain who stood opposite Or’s father to tell him that we had found his son, knows how to appreciate this effort and understand its value. How important it is to ensure a full Jewish burial—even from the most remote corners of the world. This endeavor allows the family some peace, removing all doubt.” Meshi-Zahav continued, “These are some of the best volunteers that ZAKA has, true soldiers of the Jewish people. It was only two weeks ago that they combed the mountainside in the Alps, searching for the remains of Eyal Baum z’l who was killed in the Germanwings crash.”

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