3. Israel's Kidnapped Soldiers:
Gilad Shalit, Ehud [Udi] Goldwasser, Eldad Regev

The history of Israelis Missing in Action, both civilians and POWs, dates back to 1948: it is a sad and sorry tale of feeble international action to ensure minimal conditions and compliance with International Law in terms of evidence of their being alive or dead, and of long, drawn-out negotiations to establish this information and work for their release. In many cases, not only were they held in harsh conditions and humiliated, but they were subjected to torture. In most cases, these have been resolved; however, since terrorist organizations first captured or kidnapped Israeli soldiers (and civilians) in Lebanon in the 1980s, there has been no effective action at international level to compel them to provide information, or hand them over to a legal entity.

Today, there are 4 Israeli soldiers officially listed as Missing in Action from action in Lebanon, in the hands of terrorist organizations, who should therefore have been protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the ICRC:
Tzvi Feldman, Zachary Baumel and Yehuda Katz [1982]; Ron Arad [1986]. (Biographies)

There are also 4  soldiers who have been kidnapped through violation of sovereign Israeli territory by terrorists from outside Israel:

Guy Hever, presumed to have been kidnapped into Syria from the southern Golan by infiltrators from Syria [1997];
Gilad Shalit, captured by Syrian-controlled Hamas into the Gaza Strip [June 2006];
Ehud [Udi] Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, captured by Iranian-controlled and Syrian-supported Hizbullah into Lebanon [July 2006].

The context is inherently connected to those of the other  5 missing soldiers whose fates remain unknown: Tzvi, Zachary, Yehuda, Ron and Guy. No information has been received about  the five, or who is holding them, with the last information about Ron dating from 1988.

In May 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanon, but the Lebanese Army did not deploy in the South: Hizbullah instead filled the vacuum and posed a constant border threat. It ambushed and kidnapped 3 soldiers with UNIFIL complicity in October 2000 and refused to give any information about them, using this in a macabre psychological warfare. Their bodies were exchanged in 2003, along with the return of civilian Elhanan Tannenbaum, kidnapped overseas in the same period. Mindful of that episode, Israel responded decisively to Hizbullah's 2006 kidnapping in an attempt to deter, defeat and rescue, but opening a Pandora's Box of Hizbullah's missile capacity - a threat that Israel cannot  defeat alone.

So far, Israel has not succeeded in bringing these 3 kidnapped soldiers home, but their release forms part of the terms of UN Security Council Resolution #1701e. Gilad, Udi and Eldad are reported to be alive, but no evidence or or communication from them has been provided. Their families live every second between hope and despair, because time is of the essence if they are to be released and brought home safe and sound.

There are a number of precepts and sources relating to Pidyon Shevuyim, and there are more on the ethics of Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh, saving a soul. There are ways in which everyone can take these messages on board and make a difference that could mean saving their lives and bringing them home. There isn't a moment to waste.


Prayer for the Abducted Soldiers - Prayer (in Hebrew)


To Annotated Links



Share           PRINT   
13 Sep 2006 / 20 Elul 5766 0