IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday responded negatively to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's question on whether it was possible to freeze the process of declaring captive soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev "killed in action".
On Monday, Chief IDF Rabbi Brigadier-General Avi Ronsky began the process of assessing the fate of captive IDF soldiers Goldwasser and Regev.
Ronsky received the relevant intelligence information and will determine whether or not do declare the two soldiers "killed in action whose place of burial is unknown". The chief military rabbi is the only one authorized to make such an assertion.
Earlier on Wednesday Karnit Goldwasser, Ehud's wife, said the process would be significantly slowed down and that the examination of the intelligence information would be thorough without time constraints.
According to one report, during Wednesday morning's cabinet meeting Ashkenazi was asked whether the process could be put off at least until after the weekly cabinet meeting this coming Sunday. The IDF chief said in response that the military rabbi was the only one authorized to decide on such a delay.
The Prime Minister's Office said in response "Olmert did not order Ashkenazi to freeze the process, but he did say the issue will be discussed by the cabinet, regardless of whether the process is completed or not.
Regev and Goldwasser were kidnapped by Hizbullah gunmen near the Lebanese border on July 12, 2006, sparking the Second Lebanon War.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report