Bereaved mothers urge action on Schalit

Bereaved mothers urge ac

Rona Ramon, wife of deceased Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, and Micky Goldwasser, mother of returned kidnapped Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser, were among a group of nine bereaved women who sent a letter Wednesday demanding to meet face to face with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and urge him to bring back Gilad Schalit at any cost and as soon as possible. Goldwasser explained to The Jerusalem Post that even though her son's remains were returned from Lebanon more than a year ago, the fight for justice for all Israeli parents of soldiers missing in action was not yet over. "We set out on this battle together," Goldwasser told the Post, referring to the joint efforts by her own family, Schalit's parents and those of Eldad Regev, who was taken by Hizbullah gunmen along with Goldwasser during a July 2006 attack on the Northern border. "We were three families fighting together for our sons to be returned and until there is a conclusion for all of our families, this battle is not over," she said. Varda Goldblatt, who prepared the request to Netanyahu and urged the other women to sign it in the name of the Forum of Bereaved Women and Mothers, said that the current situation was unacceptable. "We hope that if Netanyahu meets with us face to face then something will change in this situation," she said. Schalit, who has been held for some 1,235 days by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was abducted in a cross-border raid on June 25, 2006. In exchange for his release, Hamas has demanded that hundreds of Palestinian prisoners be freed. Goldblatt said that releasing Palestinian prisoners should not be an issue because "even when terrorists are held by Israel there is still more terrorists willing to work and the terror does not end." As well as Goldblatt, Goldwasser and Ramon, American-born Esther Wachsman, whose son Nachshon was kidnapped and tortured by terrorists also joined the group. Together, the bereaved women called on Netanyahu to "find the determination and courage to stop gambling with Gilad's life and sanity and bring him back to his family immediately." Netanyahu, meanwhile, was set to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Wednesday. Sarkozy has vowed to make every effort to bring about Schalit's release from Hamas captivity. Schalit has a dual citizenship.