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Protestors during Norkin's speech
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Appointed Air Force Commander heckled over fate of Israeli captive Abera Mengistu
'What about Avra Mengistu? Mengistu is also part of the country. Maj. Gen., what about his safety?' yelled protestors, interrupting current IDF Planning Directorate Amikam Norkin's speech on national security; a month ago Education Minister Naftali Bennett was similarly interrupted during a speech; Mengistu has been held by Hamas since 2014.

A speech delivered by IDF Planning Directorate and appointed Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin was interrupted Monday during a conference on research focused on matters of national security by members in the audience who demanded to know what is being done to secure the release of Abera Mengistu, an Israeli currently being held by terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

 

 

"What about Abera Mengistu? Mengistu is also part of the country. Maj. Gen., what about his safety, why hasn't the tape been made public?" yelled out the protestors during his speech, before being removed from the auditorium. After the yelling ceased, Norkin continued his speech.


Protestors during Norkin's speech (Photo: Switzeland Productions Lira SHimon, Aharon Gdalia)
Protestors during Norkin's speech (Photo: Switzeland Productions Lira SHimon, Aharon Gdalia)


Abera Mengistu
Abera Mengistu

 

Abera Mengistu has been held by Hamas since voluntarily crossing the border into Gaza in September 2014. His family has said that he suffers from mental illness. Two other Israelis, Hisham al-Sayed and Jumaa Ibrahim Abu-Ghanima, are also being held by Hamas after reportedly crossing into Gaza of their own accord on two separate occasions.

 

Photo: Motti Kimchi
Photo: Motti Kimchi

 

Earlier this month, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) was forced to cut short a speech he was delivering at a National Student Union event held at Tel Aviv University, due to a loud demonstration staged by several dozen protestors who burst into the room and called for Mengistu's release.

 

Norkin (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Norkin (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

Norkin's speech focused on cutting edge technology used by the IDF to fight global terrorism. "ISIS is using advanced technology. The IDF has to contend with non-kinetic threats, with cyber being a central one. We estimate that we will no longer have a two week evaluation period, as we did during the Six Day War," he said. "The IDF Intelligence Directorate is dealing with dozens of entities it has to neutralize, and on a certain level, it's hard to deter them."

 

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