Rivlin with Avera Mengistu's family
Rivlin with Avera Mengistu's family Campaign to release Avera

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday met with the family of Avraham (Avera) Mengistu, the mentally unstable Israeli citizen who crossed the border into Gaza in late 2014 and is being held there by Hamas.

During the meeting, the President stressed his commitment to bring Avera back to his home and his family.

"Avera is the son of all of us, I will work to bring him home. He belongs in his home in the care of his family and parents," Rivlin said.

Avera’s mother, Agranash, described the difficulty in dealing with the uncertainty of her son's fate.

"I try to come to work every day and continue my daily routine, but I have trouble all the time. Three years of uncertainty. I cannot find quiet nor can I rest," she told Rivlin, while thanking him for taking the time to meet the family and for his willingness to help.

"I am placing my hopes in you. You are just as responsible for his fate as the Prime Minister. We appreciate the fact that you found time on the eve of Tisha B’Av, the destruction of the Temple, to meet and hear the story of Avera in the hope that good news would come,” she added.

Little is known about the fate of Mengistu and, while Hamas has acknowledged that Mengistu was in Gaza it stopped short of confirming it was hold him.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently urged Hamas to comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law and provide an update on the condition of Mengistu, as well as three other Israeli nationals who went missing in Gaza, including IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

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