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(photo credit: Channel 10)
Friends and family members of two kidnapped Israeli reserve soldiers gathered at their homes Thursday to show support and solidarity. Authorities have said they have no news regarding the soldiers' fate, but believe they were alive when captured.
The IDF released their names for publication Thursday, identifying them as Eldad Regev, 26, from Kiryat Motzkin, and Ehud Goldwasser, 31, from Nahariya.
Regev, a university student who also works for Bezeq, lives with his older brother in the family's home just north of Haifa. His mother died a number of years ago, and his father remarried and moved to Haifa, neighbors said.
The family, which was notified of the kidnapping Wednesday afternoon, would not speak to the media Thursday.
"He is an absolutely great kid," said Simona Ada, a neighbor. Ada said Regev had lived there all his life and had grown up with her daughter.
Meirav Shapira, Regev's cousin, who visited the home to console the family, described him as "quiet, sensitive and amazing."
A number of military officials visited the home Thursday, including Col. Ra'anan Brinner, commander of Brigade 130, who is responsible for the western section of the northern border, where the attack took place. Military officials said Brinner briefed the family on the situation and updated them on Israel's ongoing efforts to bring about the safe return of their son.
Outside the apartment building, a group of girls from the Bnei Akiva youth movement prayed for Regev's safe return.
Mordechai Bromberger, a neighbor who came to visit the family, said Regev would sit next to him at the local synagogue, where he prayed daily.
"He doesn't talk much, and he's very modest," Bromberger said of Regev, whom he has known for two years. "He doesn't mention his personal life or his business life. Eldad is a well-built and impressive guy. From my personal knowledge of him, he has great character."
Bromberger said Regev would always sit near the rabbi and liked to discuss biblical and religious issues.
The family "completely believes that he will come home safely," he said.
"I'm sure that wherever they [the kidnapped soldiers] are they believe in God, and they're hoping that not only Israel is going to take care of them but also God as well," he said.
Goldwasser's parents were in South Africa when they were notified of their son's kidnapping. His brother was also overseas, traveling in India.
Goldwasser, a student at Haifa's Technion, lives with his wife in the Haifa suburb of Nesher.
Family and friends gathered at the home after hearing of Goldwasser's abduction Wednesday, but refused to speak to reporters.