Rivlin: State must free Avraham Mengistu from Hamas

President Reuven Rivlin says Israel is duty-bound to secure the release of one of its citizens who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for more than two years.

Avraham Mengistu, 30, disappeared in September 2014 and the Palestinian terror group confirmed in April that it is holding him. The Ethiopian-born Israeli is said to have mental health problems.

Avraham Mengistu, undated. (Courtesy of the Mengistu family via AP)
Avraham Mengistu, undated. (Courtesy the Mengistu family via AP)

Speaking at a prayer service in Jerusalem to mark the Ethiopian Israeli holiday of Sigd, Rivlin says: “We pray here together to see the speedy release of Avraham and his return to his family and the bosom of his people.”

The president also honors the Sigd festival, which celebrates Ethiopian Jewry’s connection and commitment to Israel, calling it “part of the cultural mosaic of the entire Jewish people.”

As well as Megistu, Hamas holds Hisham al-Sayed, a mentally ill Israeli Bedouin who wandered into Gaza in April 2015 and has not been heard from since, and the remains of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, Israeli soldiers who were killed in action in Gaza in the 2014 war.

Rivlin vows at the prayer service that Israel “will not rest until the boys [Goldin and Shaul] are returned to Israel for burial.”

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