Sa'ar at memorial ceremony
Photo: Avihu Shapiro
Memorial held for Bedouin soldier kidnapped on Mount Dov
Fathers of three troops kidnapped nine years ago call for monument in Bedouin soldier's memory

Hundreds of people attended a memorial ceremony for Staff-Sergeant Omar Sawaid at his family's home in Wadi Salame in the Galilee.


The ceremony marked nine years since his disappearance at Mount Dov along with Sergeant Adi Avitan and Staff-Sergeant Benyamin Avraham. The three soldiers' bodies were returned to Israel three and a half years after their kidnapping by Hezbollah.


Three fathers embrace at ceremony (Photo: Avihu Shapiro)


The soldiers' fathers, Yaakov Avitan, Haim Avraham, and Kassem Sawaid, embraced at the entrance to the home. Avitan and Avraham mentioned the support that has existed between the families since their sons' vanishing.


"This is a living example of coexistence between Jews and Bedouins, especially for the public in this community, which is an exemplar of coexistence," Avraham said.


He added that he and the other bereaved fathers wanted to remind the public that threats on Israel's northern border had not disappeared.


"The status in the north has not really changed since the kidnapping," Avraham explained. "The threats have not stopped. We need to keep preparing because there are still warmongers on the other side of the border."


The families lauded the family of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit for the restraint it has shown for the past three years, and called on the government to do everything in its power to bring the soldier home.


"It is important that the subject remain on the public agenda. The state and the people owe a moral debt to Gilad," Avitan said. "I don't think we can advise the family members what to do. They are in a different place than we were. Unfortunately we have no more hope, but they do."


The Sawaid family also mentioned during the ceremony, attended by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, that there had still been no monument erected for the memory of their son.


"Our case is rare in the army's history. These are three soldiers – two Jews and a Bedouin – whose fates were tied to one another," said Omar's brother, Tared Sawaid. "The Avitan and Avraham families have monuments in Petah Tikvah and Tiberias, but in our community there isn't one."


Sawaid said he had appealed to the Defense Ministry and the council, but to no avail. "They say we need to do it on our own," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 12.15.09, 20:10
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