Son of Herzel and Zehava Shaul, brother to Aviram and Ofek
Oron Shaul was my neighbor growing up in Poriya Ilit, a small village above the sea of Galilee. He was four years younger than me. I remember him as a quiet, sweet boy who loved playing soccer. In our village everyone knew each other. It always felt like a tight community, that is why when Oron was declared missing and later on dead, our whole village was mourning.
Oron was a modest sweet boy, who captured everyone’s attention with his beautiful big blue eyes. He decided to serve in Golani, an infantry combat unit, even though he was exempt from doing so due to his mother’s constant fight with cancer. He was awarded "President Excellency Award", one of the most prestigious awards for a serving soldier, only a few months before his death. Everyone who knew him said he was a strong, committed, responsible, humble, caring and compassionate young man who cared a lot about others.
In July 2014 Operation Protective Edge started in Gaza. Oron was two years into his mandatory service at that time. On July 20th Oron together with six other fighters from his infantry squad were driving in an APC (Armored personnel carrier) when they were hit by a missile in the Sajaia neighborhood in Gaza. Oron’s body was taken by Hamas, which have refused until this day to confirm whether he is alive or dead. The IDF declared Oron as a fallen soldier who was buried in an unknown location on July 25th 2014.
Oron’s story has received high attention in Israel and internationally after Hamas demanded a high price for any information on him.
Oron’s family has been fighting to retrieve their son since July 2014, with no luck. During this time Oron’s father, Herzel Shaul, was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away on September 2, 2016. In a letter he wrote just a few days before his death, Oron’s father explained that his disease was a result of his grief and regret about his son’s captivity, and his inability to bring him back home.
His older brother Aviram, his mother Zehava, and his younger brother Ofek are still working hard to spread Oron’s story and to find a way
to bring him back to Israel.