8 Captive Soldiers
Article 70 of the Geneva
Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War clearly states that Immediately upon capture, or not more than one
week after arrival at a camp, every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family and Article 71 stipulates
clearly that prisoners of war shall be allowed to send and receive letters and cards. Click here for the full text
Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz have been missing-in-action
since June 11, 1982.
Ron Arad was shot down over Lebanon on October 16, 1986.
Guy Hever, disappeared from the Golan on August 17, 1997.
Gilad Shalit was abducted on June 25, 2006.
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were abducted on July 12, 2006.
In flagrant defiance of the Geneva Conventions and simple human
decency, the families of these captives
are deliberately kept in suspense about the fates of their loved ones. How can such purposely refined cruelty be ignored?
The case of Zachary Baumel epitomizes the suffering and anxiety
that the families endure. In an exquisite refinement of torture in 1993, Arafat
acknowledged that he knew details of the fate of the soldier's and handed half of Baumel's identity tag to Yitzchak Rabin,
with a firm promise that more information regarding the MIA's would be forthcoming. He never kept his promise, but it is believed
that other members of the PA shared the knowledge. They should be pressed to disclose whatever information they have, especially
when we are negotiating the release of Palestinian prisoners.
It is unonscionable, that the UN, Amnesty International,
The Red Cross and other organizations that promote Human Rights, are conspicuously silent about the diabolically cruel denial
of even the most basic human rights to the 8 Israeli soldiers.
to Maimonides no religious duty is more meritorious than redeeming captives (Pidyon Shevuyim) and it is therefore fitting
that when we celebrate Pesach this year, we share the pain of those families whose seder tables are incomplete.
the forthcoming Passover, let’s once again remember that when world Jewry was struggling for the release of Soviet Jews,
we set aside an empty place at our seder tables to represent our missing kin.
Instead of 8 empty chairs, we can place a large figure 8 on the
seder table to symbolize the 8 captives while we hope and pray for that elusive peace we all yearn for, so that PG, next year
we can celebrate Passover in true freedom from the strife that plagues us.