by Elad Benari
(Israelnationalnews.com) The Israel Air Force plane returning the bodies of the six soldiers killed in joint maneuvers in the mountains of Romania on Monday in a fatal helicopter crash arrived at the Air Force base of Tel Nof on Friday. An honor guard stood silently as the chief cantor of the IDF sang the ‘El Malei Rachamim” memorial prayer and IDF Chief Rabbi recited the Kaddish.
The IDF had completed the identification of the bodies after a lengthy identification process conducted by members of the IDF rabbinate assisted by military doctors before the bodies were flown in to Israel for burial.
The Boeing 707 airplane carrying the bodies landed in Israel on Friday morning and the funerals will take place during the day Friday, and will conclude before Shabbat.
Early Friday morning, the IDF Spokesperson cleared for publication the funeral times for all six soldiers:
* The funeral of Lt.-Col. Daniel Shifenbauer from Kidron will take place at 3:00pm in the military section of the cemetery in Gderot
* Lt.-Col. Avner Goldman of Modi’in will be laid to rest at 12:15pm in the military section of the cemetery in Modiâ€™in
* Maj. Yahel Keshet of Hatzerim will be laid to rest at 1:00pm in the cemetery in Sharona
* The funeral of Maj. Lior Shai of Tel Nof Air Force Base will take place at 2:00pm in the military cemetery â€œNeve Hadarâ€ in Hod HaSharon
* Lt. Nir Lakrif of Tel Nof Air Force Base will be laid to rest at 12:30pm in the military cemetery in Haifa
* The funeral of Sgt.-Maj. Oren Cohen of Rehovot will take place 1:00pm in the military cemetery in Rehovot
The bodies of the six soldiers had been recovered on Tuesday by Romanian and Israeli rescue services, and were then taken to local hospitals where the rabbinical and medical teams worked intensely during the day on Thursday in order to make the final identifications. Some difficulties occurred during the process due to logistical issues involving the transfer of the bodies between military bases and hospitals within Romania. The IDF considered flying back only some of the bodies and thus splitting the funeral times, yet the IDFâ€™s chief rabbi said Thursday that he would make every effort to ensure that the bodies would be returned to Israel for burial before Shabbat.%ad%
The remaining soldiers who took part in the joint exercises with Romania landed in Israel on Thursday evening.
The IDF Spokesperson also announced on Thursday that some of the victims would be posthumously promoted: Lt.-Col. Daniel Shifenbauer would be promoted to Colonel, Lt. Nir Lakrif would be promoted to Captain, and Sgt.-Maj. Oren Cohen would be promoted to Staff Sergeant.
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