This Friday, July 18th, will mark Yehudah Katz’s 38th birthday. It will also mark fifteen years and one month since Yehudah was taken captive during Israel’s 1982 war with Lebanon, in the battle of Sultan Yakub. Since then, his parents Yosef and Sara Katz of Ramat Gan, Israel, have not received any information from the Syrian government about Yehudah which, according to the Geneva Convention, is responsible for his condition and whereabouts. Accounts of Yehudah’s capture and that of his friends Zachary Baumel and Tzvi Feldman were reported in the international press, including the parading of their tank through the streets of Damascus. Neither the Israeli government, the United States government, the United Nations nor the International Red Cross have been able to obtain information regarding their welfare.
We remember Yehudah Katz during this week of his birthday. Yehudah, who studied at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, is known by his friends as one who is always willing to lend a helping hand. He always volunteered to help study “bechavrutah” with his friends for hours, with both excellent and weak students.
He always made it point to visit the sick in the hospital, particularly on Purim and Yom Ha’atzmaut. His friends say that his dedication to the miztvot of “bikur cholim” and “gemilut chassadim” very much are in keeping with Yehudah’s modest and unassuming personality.
Yosef and Sara Katz miss their son very much and constantly seek any information about him. We continue to request of the United States government, the United Nations, the International Red Cross and other world organizations to do their utmost to obtain any information about and the release of Yehudah Katz, Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, and Ron Arad. At a time that international peace negotiations are being held at the highest levels, we ask that the missing Israeli soldiers be given the highest priority.
Today we think of Yehudah Katz and pray for his safe return and ask, in the name of humanity, release the missing Israeli soldiers so that they may come home.