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Mrs. Rosenwasser on Lonely Vigil Waiting for Return of Kidnapped Husband

Nearly 11 months after he was kidnapped by Arab guerrillas in the dead of night from his watchman’s post at Metullah, in Upper Galilee, 50-year-old Shmuel Rosenwasser has become an almost forgotten victim of the deadly Middle East struggle. Efforts, so far fruitless, to secure his release, were overshadowed by the wave of airline hijackings in September and the subsequent tense negotiations for the release of the nearly 300 passengers and crew members held hostage by terrorists in Jordan. Then Israel released two high ranking Algerian nationals it had detained last August when their British airliner landed at Lydda. Mrs. Ida Rosenwasser said the freeing of the Algerians raised hopes she would soon see her husband. But apparently there was no exchange agreement. Mrs. Rosenwasser spoke to newsmen in her three-room flat at Kiryat Motzkin which the Defense Ministry provided after her husband’s abduction. She spoke in her native Hungarian which was translated into Hebrew by her 14-year-old daughter, Monica.

“I’ve been hearing rumors that my husband is going to be released, but so far nothing has happened,” Mrs. Rosenwasser said. The Rosenwasser family is in a sad predicament. The Border Police continues to pay her husband’s IL340 monthly salary, about $140. It is supplemented by an IL150 (about $60) monthly grant from the Metullah City Council. Mrs. Rosenwasser suffers from a heart condition and needs medical treatment. She rarely goes out and the family is isolated from their friends in Metullah. But Mrs. Rosenwasser is worried mostly about her husband. Since he was kidnapped last Jan. 1 she has had only three letters from him and one visit by a Red Cross representative, she says. Although Rosenwasser is a captive of the El Fatah in Jordan, Israel officially holds the Lebanese government responsible because his kidnappers came from Lebanese territory. The government so far has publicly refused to negotiate with the guerrillas. The release of the two Algerians was not a “quid pro quo” for anything, a government source said recently.

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