Missing Soldiers

28 Jun

As the collective world waits to find out the fate of our soldier, Gilad Shalit, we as a collective groups need to pray for his speedy and safe return.

I have copied this prayer from Life in Israel

Yehi Ratzon, it should be your will God, that Gilad should have the strength to withstand the pains and oppressions of captivity in the hands of the enemy and that he should be re-united with his family and nation speedily and with minimum pain.
Please – Gilad, along with all the hostages of Israel; Jonathan Pollard, Ron Arad, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman, and Guy Hever, should all be re-united with their families and peace should reign in the region and no more captives should be taken and no more pain should be caused. Amen.

When I was in my freshman year in high school (SKA), we invited Zachary Baumel’s mother come speak to us. I will never forget her face, pain and determination in her voice to get her son’s body back. That year my high school created a mission for the sophomore students (15-16 year olds) to go down to Washington DC and lobby for the missing Israeli soldier’s bodies.
I don’t think any of us had any illusions that by visiting the offices of congressmen and senators we would then move the political wheels and get the bodies back. What we did understand and realize was that we needed to make sure the American government was aware that this was an import issue for our community. One of the Israeli soldiers (I don’t remember which one) was also an American citizen. At this point my former high school has been sending their students to Washington DC every year since 1995.
The Summer of 1996, the same year I went to DC to lobby for the release of the Israeli soldiers bodies back to Israel, I was in Israel on a summer camp called Achvah (under the auspices of the National Council of Young Israel organization). We were staying in Jerusalem when word got out that in exchange for returning the bodies of 123 terrorist, Israel was getting back the bodies of Yosef Fink and Rachmim Alsheich. I went to the funeral on Har Hertzel with a bunch of my campmates.
I will never forget the amount of people who came to show solidarity with the mourning families. I will never forget the different emotions I heard in the voices of the family members and politicians who spoke at the graveside.

May we be zocheh to get back Gilad Shait alive and soon. May we also be zocheh to get back the other missing soldiers. Zachary Baumel, Ron Arad,
Yehudah Katz, Zvi Feldman and Guy Hever.


2 Responses to “Missing Soldiers”

  1. Simon Holloway June 29, 2006 at 9:42 am #

    I think it’s interesting that “Life in Israel” lists Jonathan Pollard as a hostage! I’m sure he doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell, but he’s not quite in the same category as the other people listed. I appreciate the fact that you dropped his name from the list in your final paragraph 🙂

  2. Rafi G June 29, 2006 at 12:54 pm #

    If I remember correctly, Baumel is the soldier who is also American..Simon – I debated what word to use and I know hostage is inappropriate for Pollard, but ther other words under consideration were less apropriate for the soldiers who are really the focus of the day right now, so I stuck with hostage and included Pollard anyway..

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