In our continued activism on behalf of the Israeli Soldiers Missing in Action, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America is asking all its members to remember those who cannot be at our seder table this year.
Ron Arad, Zachary Baumel, Yehudah Katz, and Tzvi Feldman are four Israeli soldiers still missing in action. Israeli Air Force Navigator Captain Ron Arad was captured in 1986 as he parachuted to safety from his stricken aircraft over Southern Lebanon and is believed to be held by an Iranian backed group. Sergeant Zachary Baumel, First Sergeant Tzvi Feldman, and Corporal Yehudah Katz were captured in the Battle of Sultan Yakub in June 1982 by Syria. They are still unaccounted for. The government of Israel, international bodies and organizations have been doing their utmost to obtain information as to the fate of these missing soldiers. So far, little cooperation has come from those countries responsible for them.
The governments of Syria and Iran must be held accountable for these missing soldiers. They are legally and morally responsible for the welfare of these soldiers. This includes granting the humane right to be seen by a Red Cross representative and communicate with their families.
Passover is the festival of freedom. During the Passover seder, while we recite the Haggadah, we mention the four sons. At this time we are asking Jews the world over to remember our four sons — those who were captured while fighting for their people and the security of the State of Israel. Information on the MIAs for discussion at the Passover meal is being specially provided and is available from the Orthodox Union.
The Orthodox Union urges all Jewish activists to join us on a full-scale advocacy effort to bring about an end to the inhumanity of captivity and to call for the release of all Israeli MIAs and POWs. Letters should be written to elected officials urging that this human rights issue be high on the agenda of the continuing peace negotiations.
We pray for the speedy release of the Israeli MIAs and their safe return to their families and loved ones whose agony is extreme and prolonged. We join with them during this Passover holiday in solidarity and in hope that these families will be reunited soon.