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Oron Shaul

21

First Sergeant Oron Shaul, 21, from Poria.
Oron Shaul, affectionately called by his parents ‘Oroni’, was a luminous presence, a handsome young man with bright eyes and a timid smile. His life was tragically cut short in Operation "Protective Edge" in 2014, and he has been recognized as a fallen IDF soldier whose final resting place remains unknown. His remains are held by Hamas in Gaza, a poignant fact that underscores the ongoing anguish of his family and friends.
The second son of Zahava and Herzl, brother of Aviram and Ofek, Oron grew up in Poriya Illit, blessed with a panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan Valley. From a young age, Oron stood out for his intelligence and artistic talent, excelling in illustration, painting, and sculpture. His tall stance and strikingly deep blue eyes made him a figure of both physical grace and moral integrity, embodying kindness, humility, and an unwavering commitment to helping others and seeking justice. His love for life was infectious, drawing people to him with his modest yet irresistible charm.
Oron loved his country and its people. This love inspired him to join the "Golani" Brigade, where he served with distinction and was recognized as the President's Outstanding Soldier on Israel's 66th Independence Day. His service was a testament to his dedication to his country, even in the face of personal and familial challenges.
Oron's early years were shadowed by his mother's illness, a situation that he navigated with immense care and love. He provided unwavering support to his family, seamlessly integrating the complex realities of home life with the demands of combat service in the IDF.

The Battle of Shuja'iyya, Gaza, on July 20, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge (מבצע צוק איתן), marked a turning point, as Hamas terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF armored personnel carrier, claiming to have captured an IDF soldier. Days later, the fate of another soldier, Hadar Goldin, turned similar to that of Oron. Celebrations broke out in Gaza and the West Bank at the news, with Hamas's television broadcasting songs that mocked the grief of Shaul's family and celebrated the capture as a victory.
Israel confirmed Oron Shaul's death five days later, a declaration that brought definitive sorrow to his family but did not end their long vigil for his return. Since his capture, Oron's father, Herzl, battled cancer, expressing in his final days a heartfelt apology for not heeding caution at the time of Oron's enlistment: "My Oron, my hero son, since you left, my body has started to betray me. I have a confession: When you announced your enlistment in Golani, mom pleaded with you to reconsider because it was dangerous. But in my heart, I was filled with pride and joy. I want to apologize to you, my beloved son, for not listening to mom."
A decade has passed since that fateful day, and the longing for Oron's return only intensifies with time. His family and friends remain caught in a suspended reality, marking each day with hope and prayer for his and all hostages’ release. The need for their return is urgent and palpable, a sentiment shared by all who await the day when Oron and others taken will finally come home.

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