A new Torah scroll was recently dedicated to Israel’s kidnapped and missing soldiers at the Rabin Base in Tel Aviv, the IDF magazine BaMahane reports this week.
The dedication ceremony was attended by Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, Head of the Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, and the new Chief Military Rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz.
Ashkenazi said at the ceremony, “When I heard the event was taking place, I said I would clear my schedule to be there. The issue of kidnapped and missing soldiers is very complex and emotional. Any place I go, soldiers, commanders, and students always express their interest and ask about it. And I always say – we sent them on a mission and have not completed it until they come home.”
One of the kidnapped soldiers is Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza for more than 1,600 days. Hamas has continually barred access to him, not allowing international human rights groups to visit him – despite having recently allowed Fatah leaders to visit Fatah members imprisoned in Gaza for the first time since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.
Ashkenazi himself recently told students that “We are putting men at risk in order to bring [Shalit] back… We sent him there, we’re obligated to bring him back. As long as Gilad Shalit is still in captivity the mission has not been completed. The IDF will make every effort to bring him home… We are risking men for this purpose; [we are] not revealing everything.”
During the Torah scroll dedication ceremony, Ashkenazi reiterated that “The IDF always has and always will take care of missing soldiers, and the notion that they are in the spotlight is a comfort to families. Until we bring them results, though, it doesn’t matter, and I hope we can bring them some good news soon.”