Mengistu family at committee hearing
Mengistu family at committee hearingKnesset Spokesperson - Noam Rivkin Fenton

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, headed by MK Avi Dichter (Likud), held a discussion today, entitled "Avera Mengistu has been in Hamas hands for three and a half years and nothing has progressed in the negotiations for his release."

On September 7th, 2014, Avraham ‘Avera’ Mengistu, an Ethiopian-born Israeli from the coastal city of Ashkelon, was taken captive in the Gaza Strip, after he crossed into the Hamas-controlled area near Zikim beach. Mengistu’s family say he had a history of mental illness, and had stopped taking his medication shortly before his disappearance.

Agarnesh Mengistu, Avera's mother, said at today’s hearing: "Until now we were told to keep quiet, and that's what hurt us. If they had acted immediately, my son would not have stayed there until today. I didn’t receive a response as to how the soldiers let him cross the border? Maybe they thought he was Sudanese or Eritrean, but even then they should have stopped him and asked him. What are they guarding?"

"For four years we have been silent and I still do not know what his condition is and if he is receiving treatment. The State of Israel gives Hamas members medical treatment, but does not care for an Israeli citizen. I can not speak with Hamas, because they are the enemy, so I turn to you, thank you, and ask that you bring back my son, "Mengistu said.