The family of captive IDF soldier Ehud Goldwasser told the Hebrew-language press Wednesday that government officials have promised to call off IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky's deliberations to declare the missing soldiers "killed in action and whose burial place is unknown." But IDF officials said the army has received no such instruction from the political echelon, and that deliberations to declare the missing soldiers dead will continue.
The families of the missing soldiers were strongly critical of the army's attempt to declare their sons dead. Benny Regev, brother of Eldad, called the attempt "humiliating." Karnit Goldwasser, wife of Ehud, said Monday was "a terrible day for me and a shameful one for the State of Israel. We always thought the problem was with (Hizbullah chief Hassan) Nasrallah."
Can't see video player? Click here for interview with former IDF Chief Rabbi
In the above video, former IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss explains the decision-making process of determining if the captives are alive or dead. Rabbi Weiss says that if the soldiers are determined to be dead, then the negotiating price for their return goes down.
Regev says that the reports that the IDF will declare the missing soldiers killed in action have sent negotiations for the hostages back to square one. "If the rabbi does not receive the relevant intelligence information and cannot declare them dead, I find it hard to believe that the prisoner swap will come to pass. Hizbullah will just increase its demands and we'll go back to square one," he said.
Tuesday Karnit Goldwasser informed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak that she would petition the Supreme Court to prevent the army from declaring her husband and Eldad Regev dead. In a letter presented by attorneys Ariel Ben Dor, Eldad Yaniv and Sharon Stein, the family asked the government "to instruct state authorities not to have the soldiers' status changed…should you decline, we will have no option but to seek legal recourse."