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Copyright 2002 Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Post

March 7, 2002

HEADLINE: Tannenbaum in captivity for 500 days

BYLINE: David Rudge

JERUSALEM (March 7) - Keren Tannenbaum, daughter of Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was abducted by Hizbullah terrorists while on a trip abroad in October 2000, last night made an impassioned plea to his kidnappers to allow Red Cross officials to visit her father.

"According to the information in our hands, my father is alive. I know he is alive," Keren said.

Only relatives and a few people arrived for a solidarity rally to mark Tannenbaum's 500th day in captivity in Jerusalem's Kikar Safra last night, and the family went straight into a meeting with Mayor Ehud Olmert and then left. Keren said the family was disappointed, but understood the fear of people to attend a public rally.

"Every day he is not here with us reduces the prospect of his returning home safe and well. In 1988, we marked the 500th day in captivity of [missing IAF navigator] Ron Arad. We knew where he was at that time, and we received signs of life about him. We could perhaps at that time have arranged his return. Several months after that he disappeared without trace. We don't want that to happen to our father... We are demanding that the International Committee of the Red Cross be allowed to visit him," she said.

Tannenbaum, a businessman and reserve colonel, was kidnapped a few days after the October 7, 2000 abduction by Hizbullah of St.-Sgts. Binyamin Avraham and Omar Suwayed and Sgt. Adi Avitan. They were originally classified as missing, presumed alive. A few months ago, however, the IDF determined they were dead and their place of burial unknown.

Hizbullah has consistently refused repeated Red Cross requests to be allowed to visit the four hostages and has been demanding the release of Lebanese and Arabs held by Israel in exchange for information on them. Efforts to secure the release of Tannenbaum and the three soldiers have won support in the US Congress, especially after the September 11 terror attacks and the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Tannenbaum's son, Ori, noted his father, who suffers from chronic asthma, was kidnapped as a civilian from European territory. "What we have witnessed in the tragic case of Daniel Pearl and in the case of my father just goes to show kidnapping could happen to anyone, anywhere in the world," he said.

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