Family of Israeli held captive in Gaza turns to the UN for help

“All those who demand an end to the humanitarian plight for the residents of Gaza must also demand the immediate release of all Israelis held by Hamas.”

November 20, 2017 18:13
2 minute read.
Family of Israeli held captive in Gaza turns to the UN for help

Ambassador Danny Danon with Agarnesh and Ilan Gashao Mengistu. (photo credit: COURTESY/ISRAEL UN MEDIA)


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NEW YORK - Agarnesh Mengistu remained silent during the public statements at the UN headquarters in New York, but her silence and the look in her eyes conveyed a clear message by a mother who had not seen her son, Avre Mengistu, for three long years.

Agarnesh arrived on Monday with her other son, Ilan, to seek help from the international community, particularly the UN Security Council.

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Avre, who is mentally disabled, has been held captive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip since September 7, 2014.

After a round of meetings in Washington DC, and with the assistance of Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, the two will try to promote his release, or at least seek for a sign of life from the young man who has been held captive in Gaza for so long.

“The Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza is toying with the life of a mentally disabled civilian. They are playing a cynical and cruel game with the life of a man who has never harmed a soul,” Ilan said. “I have a brother – he is helpless – and he needs your help. Look at my mother. She is a mother like all other mothers, and she deserves to know the fate of her son,” he continued.

Ilan also mentioned that his brother did not serve in the IDF and “didn’t harm anyone.”

Danon joined Agarnesh and Ilan for their two days meetings at the UN.


“I am here today with Avre’s mother and brother to demand answers. The terrorists of Hamas have refused to even provide a sign of life to these suffering families. All those who demand an end to the humanitarian plight for the residents of Gaza must also demand the immediate release of all Israelis held by Hamas,” Danon said. “Hamas is also holding the almost two million residents of the Gaza Strip hostage. Instead of providing education and healthcare they’re digging terror tunnels and building rockets while denying their people the chance for a good life.”

“Let me be clear. Israel will not rest until all of our citizens return home,” the ambassador added.

Ilan said that what he and his family are hoping to achieve at the UN is “an unequivocal decision that the international aid organizations should visit Avre, and bring an end to our tragedy.”

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