Israeli Arab lawmaker seeks Shalit

An Israeli Arab lawmaker is helping in efforts to recover a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

Ibrahim Sarsur, a senior member of the Knesset faction United Arab List, this week will discuss the fate of Sgt. Gilad Shalit with a senior Hamas official in Turkey, Ma’ariv reported Thursday.

According to the newspaper, Sarsur’s intercession was initiated with the blessing of Shalit’s father, Noam, who has publicly accused the Israeli government of not doing enough to recover his son.

Shalit was abducted by Hamas-led gunmen in a raid across the Gaza border in June 2006 and taken to Gaza. Hamas has demanded that Israel free hundreds of prisoners as ransom, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has balked at approving such an asymmetrical swap.

Several Israeli Arab lawmakers have regularly flouted the Olmert government’s ban on direct contacts with Hamas.

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