Peres not worthy of presidency, say parents of MIA soldiers

Parents of three soldiers missing since Sultan Yakoub battle in 1982 claim vice premier has done nothing to bring them home

Efrat Weiss - YNET News - June 4, 2007

Parents of missing-in-action soldiers from the first Lebanon war's battle at Sultan Yakoub have demanded that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remove his support for Shimon Peres' presidential bid.

In a letter sent by the families' advisor, the prime minister was asked to reconsider endorsing Peres. The reason given was "if we get Shimon Peres as president, the presidential residence will be out of bounds for us."

According to the families, their objection is based on Peres' refusal to raise the topic of the Sultan Yakoub MIAs at negotiations for the Oslo accords.

Peres never did anything for MIAs

Yona Baumel, father of MIA soldier Zachary Baumel, told Ynet that "Shimon Peres was never one of those who tried to bring the missing soldiers home. He is therefore not worthy of represent the Israeli people. In a few days it will be 25 years since the boys went missing, and Peres has never done a thing about it."

Baumel, answering the question whether he thought there was anyone else who was worthy of the presidency, said: "I am not grading anyone. But Shimon Peres is not deserving of the position." He added that he was still waiting to receive information that his son Zachary was alive. "Why have they abandoned our sons," he asked.

The letter, sent last weekend, expresses the families' surprise at Peres' candidacy, and claims that for years he had hampered attempts of the International Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers and of the parents to try to obtain information about their missing sons.

They said that when Peres, who was then minister, negotiated with Syria, not even once did he ask for any information about the soldiers.

The three soldiers missing since the 1982 Sultan Yakoub battle are Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz.

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