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      Thousands Rally in Belgium for Kidnapped IDF Soldiers

      Thousands of Jews from all over Europe flocked to Belgium Wednesday to rally for the release of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Gilad Shalit & Eldad Regev. (Exclusive intermedia)
      By Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 11/30/2006, 5:00 PM / Last Update: 11/30/2006, 8:59 AM

      The families of the captives met with European Union parliament members in Brussels to appeal for help in obtaining a sign of life from their loved ones.
      Click "play" to watch the Brussels rally video
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      "We still don't know if they're alive," said Goldwasser's father at a news conference following their meeting with the EU parliamentarians.

      Arutz Sheva TV's Mark Kaplan interviews father of Ehud Goldwasser from Brussels (audio).



      (Email readers: Click here to see pics from the rally. Photo credit: Yoel von Schukkmann and Clinton Aarts)

      The speaker of the Belgian parliament met separately with the families and promised to speak with his Lebanese counterpart, Nabih Berri, in an attempt to obtain information about the two captives abducted by Hizbullah.

      Berri, a pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim, has been the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament since 1992. He has close ties with the Hizbullah terrorist organization and was one of the founders of the Amal terrorist group, which kidnapped downed Israeli Air Force pilot Ron Arad in 1982.

      Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped by Hizbullah terrorists in a cross-border raid from southern Lebanon that, along with a simultaneous Katyusha attack, sparked the start of the second Lebanon War this summer.

      Two weeks earlier, in June, Israel's third kidnapped soldier of this past summer, IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, was abducted by Hamas terrorists in a raid on an army outpost near the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza.

      Gunnar H?kmark, Swedish Christian-Democrat MEP, chairman of the steering committee of European Friends of Israel and president of the Swedish-Israel Friendship Association, said that the European Union must utilize its support of Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority to bring about the soldiers' release.

      The captives' loved ones spoke from the heart as they addressed the rally. Gilad Shalit's father Noam implored the Europeans to do what they could to achieve the prisoners' freedom, while Malka Goldwasser, Ehud's mother, said she only wants to know that her son is alive and in good health. "A mother and a wife never give up," she said. Eyal Regev, Eldad's brother, spoke of his brother's constant willingness to help others.

      Mickey Liebowitz, who coordinated the Brussels efforts on behalf of the prisoners, told Arutz-7 Hebrew Radio that the rally outside the European Parliament is "actually a show of strength on the part of Jewish communities throughout Europe. The communities are making a genuine call from atop every stage to do whatever possible to bring the boys home."

      He said that his many volunteers and the family members are meeting with EU Parliament leaders and with diplomats of all stripes. "We explain as clearly as possible that Israel is fulfilling the [Lebanon ceasefire] agreement, and expects that the European nations that help Lebanon will demand at least a sign of life from the boys and the complete fulfillment of the UN [Ceasefire] Resolution 1701 on which they are signed."

      Negotiations led by Egyptian officials are continuing with the three terrorist organizations who were involved in the kidnapping.

      Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman met with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer Wednesday in Tel Aviv to discuss the ongoing parley, as well as the fragile ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that went into effect on Sunday.

      "The [Shalit] affair will reach its conclusion very soon," Suleiman promised reporters after the talks. Rumors continue to fly that 1,400 Palestinian terrorist prisoners will be released, in three stages, in exchange for Shalit.