The return of the body of the late soldier Zachary Baumel to Israel opens up the possibility of the body of legendary spy Eli Cohen also coming home. 

About one week ago, the body of the late fallen soldier Zachary Baumel was returned to Israel, 37 years after he was killed in the First Lebanon War.  The historic return of the body of the late soldier Baumel would not have been possible were it not for the assistance of a member of the Syrian Opposition and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who understood the importance of burying a soldier in the land of the country that he sacrificed his life for.  However, what few people in the media understand is that with the return of Baumel’s body, the chances for the late Israeli spy Eli Cohen being returned to Israel are greater than ever.

Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, recently stated in an exclusive interview: “What people don’t know including in the media is that when a leader of the Syrian Opposition found the body of the late Baumel three years ago, it was also said to be the place where the late Cohen is buried in an old and neglected cemetery that is not in use in the Yarmouk Refugee Camp.  This information was passed onto the relevant authorities in Israel and also to Eli Cohen’s widow Nadia.”   He claimed that in the process of searching for the body of Cohen, the body of Baumel was found and brought back to Israel.

According to a recent report in Israel Hayom, for years, the Syrian government has claimed that they don’t know what happened to the body of the late Eli Cohen and that it disappeared without a trace.  The report claims that given the political upheaval that Syria has experienced in recent years, for some time, Israel bought off on such arguments.  However, with the return of Baumel’s body, it is believed that the Syrian claims are not accurate and now there is hope that the remains of Cohen can also be brought back to Israel.

Legendary Israeli spy Eli Cohen is a national hero.  In 1965, he was publicly executed after succeeding to penetrate the highest levels of the Baath Party leadership and the Syrian military.  The intelligence he passed onto Israel greatly assisted the nation’s security.  His hanging was aired live on Syrian television.  After his execution, anti-Israel signs were placed upon his hanging body.  His body was left to hang for six hours before being buried in the country.  His family in Israel never got to give him a proper Jewish burial surrounded by loved ones.

Not too long ago, Safadi brought a video clip to Israel that no one knew existed for 51 years.  The video clip documented the execution of Eli Cohen.  The rare video clip showed Eli Cohen on the gallows and documented his body being taken down from the gallows into a coffin.  The video displays his coffin being taken away for burial.   “I cannot reveal the names of the people who helped us with this issue for obvious reasons but for 5 years we worked hard on this in order to get more details and more information on our missing people,” Safadi declared in a TV interview on the issue.  The video clip of Cohen’s execution was obtained with the assistance of the Syrian opposition.

Last summer, the Mossad managed to recover his wristwatch from local Syrians who sold it to them.  In an interview with Yedioth Achronot, Cohen’s daughter Sofi Ben-Dor stated: “There was great excitement for it was the only item of dad that came back.  We have nothing else besides that.”  Elie Cohen is survived by three children, six grandchildren and an elderly wife in her eighties, Nadia.