Hillary Clinton: Longtime Advocate For Captive Israeli Sodliers
Posted by jewsforhillary on February 28, 2007
Senator Clinton has a long and dedicated history of concern and advocacy on behalf of captive Israeli Soldeirs missing in action, particularly the welfare of one who is also an American Citizen. Senator Clinton realizes the value that his eventual return could mean the return of his comrades as well. Here are just two documented examples:
“I was privileged to announce during the course of my lecture [the Rabin lecture, in Israel] that the President had signed the MIA legislation that will make Israeli MIAs a signal part of American foreign policy, and I think now is the time to press as hard as we possibly can to get answers and force accountability, and I agree with that and will do whatever I can.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York December 14, 1999)
On Sunday, Rabbi Kenneth Hain, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence, invited U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) to the shul’s library in a gathering of about 30 local religious and political leaders to discuss ways they could revive the case. Other topics were also discussed in the meeting, to which the press was not invited.
“I think the meeting went well,” said Dr. Stuart Ditchek, founder of the Committee for the Release of Zachary Baumel. “Sen. Clinton has really been a great friend to the Baumel family. I think that she feels for the family from a maternalistic standpoint.”
As a powerful Democrat, he said, Clinton will be able to pressure the White House and the State Department to force the Syrians to move on this issue.
He said dealing with the Syrians is very difficult because they are known to change their minds, but he feels the Syrians are ready to negotiate for his release, providing Baumel is indeed alive, since they clamor for U.S. support now.
The meeting was a successful one, according to Mansdorf, who was among those who attended. “There’s always hope,” he said.
“I think she’s overwhelmingly supportive,” Mansdorf said of Clinton. “If there were more people out there like her, we would be making some more progress.”
Mansdorf also praised Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) for her part in trying to uncover more about the case. “She’s been very supportive as well. These two women, perhaps because they are mothers, have been extraordinarily supportive,” Mansdorf said of Clinton and McCarthy.
Baumel, who would now be in his 40s, moved from the U.S. to Israel in 1970 and joined the Israeli army in 1979. He has been missing since June 1982 when he was engaged in a tank battle with Syrian forces on the Lebanon-Syria border. He was serving his last 10 days of army duty when he was captured. Since then, Baumel’s father, Yona, and his mother, Miriam, have not rested, with the search for their son consuming their lives. Although many have given up hope that he is alive, his parents have not. They have met with leaders throughout the world in their quest to find out more about their son’s disappearance.
“This is an important issue in the Jewish community,” Ditchek said. “It’s an important issue in the American community. He’s one of us.”
The missing soldier’s family is now urging people to write letters and send e-mails to government officials, urging them to seek information on the case. Baumel’s father also recently addressed the congregation at Young Israel of Woodmere on Peninsula Boulevard, spelling out his anguish of not being able to see his son for nearly a quarter-century.
Yona Baumel, who immigrated to Israel from New York, recently told Israel TV that he believes his son might still be alive. His hope was renewed after receiving part of a book through a circuitous route from Syria that contained dots under letters that spelled out “Zachary,” in addition to four extra letters that he said were a family joke only his son and daughter would know. The book was handed over to Israeli police, who did not find Baumel’s fingerprints on the book, but determined that there appeared to be emphasized words that could indicate messages like “hope,” “help” and “faith.”