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Copyright 2005 Arutz 7 IsraelNationalNews
March 09

HEADLINE: More Clues Lead to Optimism Regarding MIA Soldier

A historical novel set in turn-of-the-century Egypt holds the latest clues to the whereabouts of an Israeli soldier who has been missing-in-action since 1982.

Zecharia "Zack" Baumel and two others have never been accounted for since the Sultan Yaaqub battle in the 1982 Peace for Galilee War in Lebanon. Twenty soldiers were killed, and six soldiers were left behind, in the debacle and defeat of that battle. Two of the missing - Ariel Lieberman and Chezi Shai - were returned from captivity after two and three years, respectively, while it was learned only in October 1983 that a third, Zohar Lifshitz, had been killed in the battle. The whereabouts of the others - Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman and Zechariah Baumel - have not been ascertained to this day, though their families say they have received several signs of life over the years.

The New York Post reports that a "Syrian semi-official" claims to have seen Baumel at a Syrian military installation 10 miles north of the Iraq-Syria border within the past two months. In addition, the Post reports, Baumel's parents recently received a copy of a 1999 novel entitled "The Map of Love" with a coded message they believe came from their son.

"In different parts of the damaged book," the Post reports, "the couple discovered a series of faint dots under the letters "BAZMUTACUMKCEL." The letters spelling Zack Baumel were easily found, and the remaining letters - MTUC - were later linked to a Baumel family joke. In addition, phrases in the book such as "A child forsaken," "I have hope" and "help me" were also underlined or circled.

The Baumels hope that either Israel or the United States will pursue this latest lead and pressure Syria on the matter. "The present [Israeli] government has a responsibility, if not to us, then to the soldiers themselves," Mr. Baumel told Arutz-7 today. "And the U.S. State Department just last week said that it would hold the Syrians strongly responsible and accountable for Zack's well-being."

For more information on the missing Israeli soldiers, see "http://mia.org.il".

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