Orthodox Union Highlights Plight of Missing Israeli Soldiers

Posted on November 30, 2001 In Press Releases

In an ongoing effort to draw attention to the plight of the missing Israeli soldiers, the Orthodox Union, the largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, is sponsoring an upcoming “Shabbat of Remembrance” for the Israeli MIAs to be held this year on Friday, December 7th and Shabbat, December 8th, Shabbat Parashat VaYeshev. Special remembrance prayers and services will be initiated in Orthodox synagogues throughout the country.

Betty Ehrenberg, IPA/OU Director of International and Communal Affiars, said, “Sergeant Tzvi Feldman, Sergeant Zachary Baumel, who is also an American citizen, and Corporal Yehuda Katz were reported missing in action eighteen years ago. They are still unaccounted for. They were captured after the battle of Sultan Yakub which raged in the Bekaa Valley between an Israeli tank unit and a Syrian armored unit on June 11, 1982. The Syrians, who are responsible for the soldiers according to the Geneva Convention, have refused to reveal any information regarding their status or whereabouts. In 1986, Israeli Air Force Navigator Ron Arad bailed out of his airplane in Lebanon and was captured by an Iranian-backed group. Since then, requests for his release or information as to his condition of whereabouts have been refused.

“Elchanan Tanenbaum, an Israeli businessman who holds the rank of Colonel in the IDF reserves, was abducted on a business trip in Europe in October 2000 and is believed to be held by Hezbollah.

“Guy Hever, a soldier in the Israeli army, disappeared in the Golan Heights on August 17, 1997. He was last seen at his base and there has been no sign of him since.

“This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev. As we read the portion of the Torah that tells us that Jacob our forefather never stopped longing for his missing son Joseph, we cannot help but be reminded of these brave MIAs who risked their lives for the security of Israel. We want rabbis to urge their congregants to publicize this issue to elected officials throughout the country. Rabbis and synagogues leaders will discuss this issue in the context of the commandment of redeeming the captive.

“During this upcoming Shabbat Parshat VaYeshev, we urge all our congregants to contact the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State and all elected officials, enlisting their aid in making this a top priority agenda issue. For the families of the Israeli missing soldiers, every pain-filled day is a lifetime. We hope that the Israeli MIAs will be reunited soon with their families and all of Israel.”