Files Found at Iranian Consulate Give Soldiers’ Families New Hope

A recent break-in at the offices of the Iranian Consulate in Geneva has given an Israeli couple new hope that their son, and five other Israeli soldiers missing since the Lebanon war, may be alive.

The couple, Joseph and Sarah Katz, have never given up hope that they will one day be reunited with their son, Yehuda, whose tank was captured by the Syrian army in Lebanon in June 1982.

Opponents of the present regime in Iran found a list of the six missing Israelis in the consulate files. It was shown on Israeli television Jan. 21.

Joseph Katz said at a news conference here Thursday morning that he is seeking a meeting with Iranian Consul Manoucher Tale to beg him to divulge the whereabouts of the six soldiers.

In addition to Yehuda Katz, the missing are Zachariya Baumel and Tzvi Feldman, presumably captured by the Syrians, Damir Assad, a Druze soldier, Yosef Fink and Rachamim Alsheikh.

Katz said he had spoken to Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in Vienna. Waldheim said he had raised the matter with President Hafez Assad of Syria on a visit to Damascus last year.

Katz is also appealing to the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“I am a religious man and as such I appeal to Khomeini, also a religious man,” Katz said.

He disclosed that two years ago he met Nabil Ramlani, the Palestine Liberation Organization representative at the United Nations in Geneva, who told him, “the problem of your son is a political problem.”

This week, Ramlani, coincidentally, made vituperative remarks at the United Nations here about Israelis soldiers “gassing and burning Palestinians.”

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