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Copyright 2005 Jerusalem Post
March 15

HEADLINE: Zachary Baumel's father says he received sign of life


The father of Zachary Baumel, missing since the war in Lebanon in 1982, said Tuesday he has received a sign that his son might still be alive.

Yona Baumel told Channel 1 that he received part of a book through a circuitous route from Syria. It had dots under letters that spelled his son Zachary's name, as well as four extra letters that Baumel said was "a family joke only Zachary and his sister could know."

Baumel and two other soldiers have been missing since a tank battle on the Lebanon-Syria border in June, 1982, during Operation Peace for Galilee.

The TV report showed the pages of the book, apparently waterlogged, with small blue dots under some of the letters. Channel 1 said Baumel turned the pages over to the police, who failed to find the younger Baumel's fingerprints on it, but determined that there appeared to be emphasized words which could indicate messages, like "hope," "help" and "faith." The report did not say when Baumel received the pages.

Yona Baumel, 78, who immigrated to Israel from New York, where Zachary was born, has insisted that his son was captured alive and seen in Damascus after the war. In recent years, he has said all he wants is to know what happened to Zachary.

"We are not being hasty," Baumel said. "We check all information. We dedicate ourselves to the search anew every morning."

Israel's official position is that the three soldiers are missing in action.

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