Parents of Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers Call for Support
The families of three Israeli soldiers kidnapped more than a month ago by Hizbollah, asked for help in obtaining the safe return of their sons at a gathering of Jewish leaders in a downtown hotel in Chicago.
Sergeant Major Omar Souad, 27, Staff Sergeant Binyamin Avraham, 20, and Sergeant Adi Avitan were kidnapped on October 7 while on patrol near the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The physical status of the soldiers is unknown because Hizbollah, a Lebanese militant group, refuses to communicate with the Israeli government, said Rina Idan, deputy head of the Israeli Defense Forces' Center for Liaison with Families of the Missing In Action Soldiers.
"Sometimes we find on the Internet that they are alive. Sometimes we find on the Internet that they are dead," she said. "It's making the family crazy."
Idan said Hizbollah has not yet provided an ultimatum to the Israelis.
"They are not telling us anything," she added. "The international community must condemn all these organizations which refuse to follow the regulations that are internationally accepted."
After spending the first leg of their tour in New York where they met with Senator-elect Hillary Clinton, the family members stopped in Chicago to drum up support at the United Jewish Committee's annual gathering.
"We are a family in a lot of pain," Haim Avraham said. "It's extremely difficult. We cannot differentiate between night and day."
The UJC, a coalition of Jewish leaders and US and Canadian philanthropists, is hosting a three-day convention to be attended by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon.
Meanwhile, more than 200 supporters of Israel, gathered outside the Chicago hotel, waved flags and picket signs showing a photo of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat juxtaposed with one of Adolf Hitler, blazoned top and bottom with the word, "Murderers." – CHICAGO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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