The family of Avraham Mengisto held a rally outside Hadarim Prison on Monday to express their humanitarian demand that their son be released by Hamas from captivity in Gaza.
It was a small gathering – just 20 people, including all of the relatives – held at the time Palestinian Authority Arabs came to visit their own family members incarcerated at the prison.
Avraham’s brother Ilan addressed the visitors, and those gathered, saying, “White you are visiting your loved ones in Israel, Avera Mengisto, an innocenet 29 year old civilian, is being held in Gaza.
“Despite the fact that he is not well and was never a soldier, Hamas continues to hold him hostage and refuses to release him or to give any information about his whereabouts.”
Ilan Mengisto also accused those visiting their prisoner relatives of being “accomplices in the captivity of a helpless man who crossed into Gaza, because he did not know what he was doing.”
Following the rally, organizers told media, “We have chosen to take responsibility without any help from the state, in order to secure the release of Mengisto.”
The family has maintained its silence on the case since the 29-year-old man climbed over the security fence near the seashore and crossed into Gaza on September 7, 2014.
He was spotted at the time by IDF soldiers guarding the border, who called to him to stop – but he kept going and by the time they got to him, he had disappeared into Gaza.
Due to a gag order on the case and advice from the government the family was silent, trusting authorities to continue negotiating with Hamas for their son’s release. Since talks have produced no result, however, the family has now decided to begin publicizing its own demands on humanitarian grounds – with Monday’s small rally a first step in the process.
A second individual – a Bedouin man from southern Israel – likewise crossed into Gaza a number of months ago and has since been held hostage. His identity remains protected under gag order and the request of the family.