Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) urged Israel Monday not to forget hostage Ouda Tarabin, held by Egypt along with Ilan Grapel.
Tarabin, an Israeli Negev Bedouin shepherd, has been held in prison for more than 11 years by Egypt on charges of spying for Israel. He was arrested after he inadvertently crossed over Israel's southern border into Egypt towards the end of 1999.
Israeli-American Grapel was arrested by Egypt earlier this year on a similar charge.
Speaking at the Arutz Sheva-sponsored Jerusalem Conference, Kara reminded, “The Israeli conscience cannot be satisfied just with freeing Gilad Shalit.” The now 25-year-old soldier, kidnapped at age 19 by the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza, is expected to be exchanged tomorrow (Tuesday, October 18) in a deal that will free more than 1,000 Arab terrorists, many of them serving life sentences for multiple murders, with Jewish blood on their hands.
“Until we free Ouda Tarabin and Ilan Grapel, we will have a stain on our conscience," the deputy minister added pointedly. "Many non-Jewish supporters of Israel have been very discouraged at Israel's failure to redeem Tarabin for so many years.”
Kara has worked hard to ensure that Tarabin is not forgotten, and recently asked U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro to pressure Cairo on the issue as well.
“It is unthinkable that a Bedouin citizen of Israel, held by Egypt, should not get the same concern shown for Ilan Grapel and Israeli journalist Yotam Feldman,” Kara warned earlier this month. “This is the last chance to see that he is freed before the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. It is clear how they will treat him, and what will be his fate.”
In the on-again, off-again saga of third year law student Ilan Grapel's imprisonment in Egypt, an Egyptian official stated Monday that the dual Israeli-American national could be released in the coming days.
The latest deal between Israel and Egypt for Grapel's release, according to Reuters, involves a prisoner swap of close to 90 Egyptian inmates incarcerated in Israeli prisons on a variety of security charges. An initial deal for a swap of 25 prisoners was quickly raised within months to 81 inmates, and this past week the “price” was again raised, this time to 90 prisoners.
Israeli officials have said that they are also hoping to include Tarabin in the deal they are negotiating for Grapel.
The deal, said the Egyptian official who spoke with Reuters, has no connection with the prisoner exchange deal concluded between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. More than 1,000 terrorists, including hundreds of multiple murderers with Jewish blood on their hands, will be exchanged for the 25-year-old soldier in that exchange.