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(photo credit: AP [file])
As part of his campaign to free his son, the father of kidnapped soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit plans to meet with Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at his Jerusalem home early Monday morning.
Yosef has long supported the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captive Israelis, including Schalit, 22, who was kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006 from the Israeli side of the Gaza border.
The expected meeting - the first between Noam Schalit and Yosef - comes as a Hamas delegation and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet with Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss a cease-fire that would allow for the opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
The Schalit family has asked that no crossings be opened until their son is returned and that his release be included in any cease-fire arrangement.
Hamas has demanded the release of 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Schalit.
Noam Schalit is also expected to lobby Yosef for the support of his party on behalf of any agreement that would have to come to the cabinet for a vote.
Also on Sunday, Olmert asked Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan to join the staff working on Schalit's release.
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