The family of missing soldier Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who was declared dead on Friday afternoon, said Sunday they have decided to sit shiva, after consultations with the Chief Military Rabbi and the head of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.
Shaul was in a Golani Brigade APC that was attacked with an anti-tank missile in Saja'iyya a week ago, at the beginning of the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge. Six of Shaul's comrades were killed in the attack.
Shaul was missing for days until the Rabbinate Court declared him on Friday a fallen soldier whose place of burial was unknown.
Following the decision, Oron's parents Herzl and Zehava and his brother Aviram have asked for further clarifications on the reasons behind the decision to declare him dead.
Chief Military Rabbi Raffi Peretz and the head of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute Prof. Chen Kugel arrived at the family home on Sunday afternoon to give the information detailed information on the findings at the scene of the attack and the circumstances that led to the conclusion that there was no doubt Oron was killed in the attack.
Oron's cousin, Rachel Gazit, who served as the family's spokesperson in the past week, told reporters that after the parents' questions were answered, the family decided to sit shiva to mourn the soldier's death.
The uncertainty as to Shaul's fate arose last Sunday. While Hamas had declared the night before it had kidnapped a soldier, IDF representatives that arrived at the family home told Oron's parents it was almost certain he had been killed.
Two days later, the IDF Personnel Directorate chief Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai visited the parents, accompanied by the head of the IDF's casualties department Lt.-Col. Yafeh Mor, and told the parents the army found no findings linking their son to the attack, and that it was unable to unequivocally determined he was killed in the incident.
On Friday, Maj.-Gen. Barbivai arrived at the Shaul family home again, accompanied by the Chief Military Rabbi, and told them a special IDF rabbinate court declared Oron Shaul dead, as fallen soldier whose place of burial was unknown.