Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Mengistu family at the PMO in Jerusalem, Nov 21 2019

It could not have been an easy meeting. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday (Nov. 21) in Jerusalem at the Prime Minister’s Office with the Mengistu and A-Said families, together with the Coordinator for Captives and MIAs, Yaron Bloom.

Also attending the meeting were National Security Council Chairman Meir Ben-Shabbat, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth and a Foreign Ministry representative.

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Avera Mengistu is still being held by Hamas in Gaza, where was last seen alive in September 2014, when he strode across border along the beach as he had reportedly done a number of times before.

Hisham a-Said is also being held in Gaza after he crossed into the enclave a short time after Mengistu. Like Mengistu, a-Said also has a history of mental health difficulties and has crossed Israel’s border without authorization in the past — the border with Gaza, with Jordan and with Egypt as well.

Netanyahu told the families that he is committed to bringing back home the soldiers and civilians being held by Hamas. He updated them on the latest developments and the open and covert efforts being made by the State of Israel to return the boys.

This past Sunday, Netanyahu met with the Goldin and Shaul families, whose IDF officer sons Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul both died in Gaza during the 2014 war with Hamas, Operation Protective Edge. Both of the officers’ bodies were stolen by Hamas and are now being held as assets by the terror group.

Netanyahu updated both families on the efforts being made to return the boys and on the latest developments.

The families raised other courses of action; the prime minister instructed his staff to evaluate the possibilities that were raised.

Also attending the meeting were Finance Minister and member of the ministerial committee on captives and MIAs Moshe Kahlon, National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth and Coordinator for Captives and MIAs Yaron Bloom.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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