Hizbullah silent on fate of soldiers

The Goldwasser and Regev families haven't received a single sign of life.

karnit goldwasser 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
karnit goldwasser 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Miki Goldwasser's most cherished dream is one she fears to dwell upon. She has imagined more times than she can count how it would be when her 32-year-old son, Ehud, returns from captivity. "I open the door and there he is standing and smiling," Miki told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Joy crept into her voice at the very thought.
  • The second Lebanon war: JPost.com special report "After all the kissing and the hugging, he will get from me such a kick that it will send him back to [Hizbullah leader Hassan] Nasrallah," she said. That kick, Miki said, would be for all she and her family have endured in the last year, since Hizbullah kidnapped her son and Eldad Regev, 26, as their reserve unit patrolled the northern border on July 12. Their capture helped spark the Second Lebanon War, which ended for most of the country last August, but not for these two families, whose battle to free their loved ones continues. Miki tries not to focus on the vision of her son's return. "It can weaken me, and I need to send him my strength," she said. She first understood that her world had been turned upside down when her husband and a rabbi broke the news to her in the living room of their home in Durban, South Africa, where they had lived on and off since 1987. For the last year, they have been in their Israeli hometown of Nahariya, where they intend to remain until they hear from Ehud, whom they call Udi. In the interim, the Goldwasser and Regev families have continued to travel the world to seek support from the international community and its leaders to secure the pair's release. Working alongside them is the family of Cpl. Gilad Schalit, kidnapped by Hamas on June 25, 2006, on the Gaza border. But while the Schalit family received a cassette of Gilad on the anniversary of his capture and a letter in September, the Goldwasser and Regev families have not been given any sign regarding the fate of their loved ones. They only know that one was seriously wounded and the other critically, but they do not even know which one suffered the most extensive wounds. "It is a year now, and nothing has changed. We do not have even a single sign of life. It is exactly as it was the day it happened. So for me it is really frustrating. I am full of anger, there are no words to describe it," said Miki. While she has been bolstered by the outpouring of support from people around the world, she has been frustrated that the government has not done enough to free the two men. "It [the public support] strengthens us and that is why we can go on. Standing in front of our government with all those voices, it is like a wave, which is now a tsunami that needs to be heard in the ears of our leaders," Miki said. Israeli leaders and politicians have reached out to the family in the last year, she said, but she wants more than just words of support. "It is a year and my son is not back; for me, that means that not everything was done, because I am still waiting," Miki said. Waiting along with her is her husband, Ehud's two younger brothers and Ehud's wife, Karnit. The couple had been married for less than a year when Ehud was taken. To mark the anniversary of the two soldiers' kidnapping as well as that of Gilad Schalit, the families plan to hold a rally in Haifa on Thursday evening in Gan Ha'em for women who have lost children or siblings in war and terrorist attacks. Among the speakers scheduled is a rare appearance by Schalit's mother, as well as speeches by Regev's sister-in-law, Miki herself, and other women. Miki said she has composed a song for the occasion. She also plans to make a second appeal to Lebanese mothers to raise their voices as well. "I wrote letters to mothers [in Lebanon] three months ago and I didn't get any response," she said.