In these turbulent times for the Jewish people, one issue continues to transcend all divides and
unite us all - left and right, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi: our profound
concern for the well-being of all our young men and women in uniform and, particularly, our
prayers for the safe return of the IDF's missing and captive soldiers.
This painful chapter has accompanied our struggle for peace and security since the very
inception of the State of Israel. And, even today, the Government of Israel and its friends
continue to invest every possible effort in order to win the release of all our sons - Zachary
Baumel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, Ron Arad, Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham, Omar Souad
and Elchanan Tannenbaum.
The human tragedy of our MlAs and POWs pains the entire Jewish world. We are, after all,
the extended family of these eight men - "All Jews are Responsible for Each Other" - and so,
we must not remain silent. Our actions will have a direct impact on the fate of our prisoners.
Jewish communities around the globe must also divert public attention to the agonizing plight
of these men, who, in flagrant contravention of the Geneva Accords, have not been allowed
ANY contact with the outside world, including the International Red Cross. It is paramount
that the reprehensible conditions of their prolonged captivity be universally condemned - and
that their freedom be won.
It is imperative that all Jewish communities exert maximum pressure on their local
governments and enlist their active involvement in demanding an end to the captivity of our
soldiers. This humanitarian cause must become a top priority for all democratic societies
committed to fundamental morality, liberty and justice.
The deaf ears which have ignored our appeals must be forced to hear and to act now. This
blemish on the collective record of the international community must be erased, and our
captives must be returned safely to their families.
I urge you to join in the Mitzvah of bringing freedom for these prisoners and to participate in
this campaign of unparalleled urgency.
Rabbi Michael Melchior
Minister of Israeli Society and the World Jewish Community