After threats made to hostage's family, Netanyahu rep apologizes

The retired IDF colonel and representative for the prime minister told the Mengistu family that their son's release will take an extra year if race issues are brought into play.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 10, 2015 03:10
1 minute read.
Journalist talking to family of Avera Mengistu

Journalist talking to family of Avera Mengistu. (photo credit: ASHKELON MUNICIPALITY)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a high-ranking representative for the premier apologized Friday after a series of threatening comments were made during a private meeting with members of the Mengistu family, whose 26-year-old son Avraham disappeared into the Gaza Strip last September.

Colonel (res.) Lior Lotan, the prime minister's representative dealing with hostage issues, apologized to the Mengistus in person, saying that "the good relations that we had over the past few months will continue together up until the moment when Avera [Avraham] is brought home."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement saying that Lotan's statements "should not have been said and it is good that Lior spoke with the family members tonight to apologize directly."

In a recording made public by Israel's Channel 10 on Thursday, Lotan was heard making threatening statements to the Mengistu family during a private meeting, saying that "whoever turns this into a story involving the Ethiopian community versus the State of Israel, will keep Avera in Gaza for another year."

"You have two options: The first is to point the finger at Hamas and tell them 'You are holding him [hostage], you are responsible for his fate, return him to us and we want to know that he's alive,'" Lotan told the family. "Then you have the second option, which is to point the finger at Jerusalem and say 'You aren't right, you let him cross and did not respond to letters.'"

"You guys choose. I have my opinion on this -- what is best for Israel, what will help him and what will help Hamas, but you have to choose and you will be responsible for the outcome."

On Thursday, authorities revealed that two Israeli civilians suffering mental health issues entered the Gaza Strip, at different times on their own accord, and were held by Hamas against their will, following the lifting of a gag order that prevented publication on the incidents until now.



On September 7, 2014, Avera Avraham Mengistu, 29, of Ashkelon, crossed the security fence into the Gaza Strip, climbing over the barrier near the southern coast. Soldiers called to the scene attempted to call Mengistu back after he was already in Gazan territory, but he ignored their calls and continued straying into the Hamas-run enclave, according to senior Israeli officials.



Related Content

TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Israel Katz and Rona Ramon cut the ribbon to inaugurate Eilat’s new airport.
July 17, 2018
First flight lands at Ramon Airport as Eilat seeks to grab more tourists

By MAX SCHINDLER