The father of an Israeli soldier who disappeared during the 1982 war in Lebanon has rejected unofficial assessments that his son is no longer alive.
Yona Baumel said that in recent weeks, the Israel Defense Force has indicated to him that his son, Zachariya, is dead.
He said he would continue to insist that any conclusions drawn about the fate of his son be based on facts.
He also accused Palestinians of withholding information about his son and other soldiers who have been missing since the Sultan Yakub battle.
Baumel said the most recent information he received on his son was in May.
“We have a steady stream of information that cross-checks that at least some of the boys are alive,” he told Israel Radio.
Baumel said he believed that his son was being held near Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, adding that he wanted Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat to confirm this information.
An IDF spokesman said that as long as there is no proven information concerning the fate of these soldiers, they will be considered alive.