Nancy Pelosi
Photo: AFP
Karnit Goldwasser
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Photo: Sebastian Sheiner
Yona Baumel
Photo: Sebastian Sheiner
Rina Hever
Photo: Dudi Vaknin

US House Speaker 'won't rest till captives are home'

Before leaving Israel for Syria and Lebanon, Nancy Pelosi tells kidnapped soldiers' families she will demand their release

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday evening that she would not rest until the kidnapped Israeli soldiers return home.


During a speech she gave at the Knesset in the presence of the families of soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev, Gilad Shalit, Guy Hever and Zachary Baumel, Pelosi presented the soldiers' ID tags, which were given to her by their families.


According to Karnit Goldwasser, wife of Ehud Goldwasser, Pelosi "said that she carries the chain and tags with her to all of her meetings and starts every conversation by presenting the tags and talking about Udi (Ehud) and his friends."


Saying that Pelosi promised she would mention the soldiers everywhere she went, Ehud Goldwasser's father said that he asked her "to ask Assad how the two captives held by Hizbullah are doing."


Goldwasser told Ynet that he supported Pelosi's visit to Syria and also mentioned his first Seder eve without his son, saying, "Tomorrow there will be one empty chair. In past Seder nights we were happier."


Acting President and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik appealed to Pelosi and told her that her visit to Syria will make it clear to the Syrian people and leadership that they should abandon the axis of evil, and that Israel wanted peace.


Itzik also made it clear to Pelosi that anyone demonstrating sincere intentions for peace would find Israel ready to talk.


During the meeting, Itzik also referred to Israeli spy Eli Cohen, whose family was present at the event, and expressed hope that Pelosi's visit to Syria would lead Assad to agree to transfer the spy's bones back to Israel.


Families want a sign of life

Earlier Sunday, the families met with Pelosi at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and urged her to bring back a sign of life from their loved ones on her upcoming visit to Syria and Lebanon.


After Pelosi's afternoon meeting with the captives' families, Karnit Goldwasser said that she was hopeful that Pelosi's meetings with Lebanese and Syrian heads would bring at least a sign of life.


"She was very excited, and so were the other congress representatives that were with her. She said that it was very symbolic that the delegation was composed of Christians, Jews and even one Muslim," she added.


Earlier, Pelosi met with Rina Hever, the mother of missing soldier Guy Hever, and Yona Baumel, father of Zachary Baumel, who has been missing since the battle of Sultan Yacoub in the 1982 Lebanon war.


Hever said, "I told Pelosi that she was a very brave woman for going to meet with Bashar Assad for the first time. I asked her to work to get a sign of life from my son to advance his release.


"After all, what is it that the Syrians want? The release of 10 prisoners? I have a feeling that she plans to bring up the subject with him (Assad), and I really hope that from there, there will be some development toward getting my son back."


Ahiya Raved contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 04.01.07, 17:44
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