Baumel says son is being held in Syria

Father of soldier missing since 1982 says gov't has "hierarchy of MIAs" policy - pilots more important.

October 17, 2007 10:29
1 minute read.
Baumel says son is being held in Syria

baumel picture 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Yona Baumel, the father of Zacharia Baumel - one of three IDF soldiers who went missing during the Battle of Sultan Yakoub in 1982 - accused the government on Wednesday of practicing a policy of "a hierarchy of MIAs" and investing huge sums of taxpayer money on the search for missing IAF navigator Ron Arad while ignoring the other missing soldiers. Baumel told Army Radio, "We have resigned ourselves to this, because [for the government] those who crawl on the ground are less important than pilots." The army said in response that there was no differentiation made between missing soldiers and cited the fact that family members of all the MIAs met last month with Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Baumel also expressed anger that the Arad family was not required to spend its own money in searching for information. "We are working alone and spending our own money," he said, "and when we need even the smallest cooperation from the government we don't get it." He went on to say that he has proof that his son was being held captive in Syria, and was alive as recently as two years ago. According to Baumel, his family operates a network of informants, and that information they have received indicates that Zacharia is in Syria. "As of two years ago it became known to us that he was alive, but in bad condition. I know my son is in Syria, dead or alive. We have a lot of information. "We have a network that works for us for free, dear people all over the world; friends of Zacharia that work in the United States on his behalf. He was alive in Syria," repeated Baumel, "the information came from Arab sources.

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