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Copyright 1993 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

December 3, 1993



Miriam Baumel, the mother of missing serviceman Zacharia Baumel, said after receiving half of her son's IDF identification tag yesterday that "the current information we have is that he is alive. We want to know where our son is and when we can see him."

Baumel made her remark at a news conference in Jerusalem after she and her husband, Yona, were shown half their son's "dog tag" at the Prime Minister's Office. The tag, given by PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to Prime Minister Rabin's special envoy, Jacques Neriah, in Tunis on Wednesday, will now be checked for its authenticity. The Baumels said they have known for years that the PLO had the tag.

Yona Baumel said that no significance should be read into the fact that the family received only half the tag, and that this does not mean - as some press reports have speculated - that he was killed. A broken tag, by IDF convention, often indicates the soldier was killed. But Baumel said the family knows the PLO received the whole dog tag, and broke it later. He said he is satisfied with Rabin's handling of the whole issue.

Baumel said receiving the tag was not important in and of itself, but is significant because "of what will come after. Now we want to move to the next stage, and get information about how they received the tag, who brought it to them, and who was holding Zacharia at the time they were given the tag. We know that the PLO in Tunis has more information regarding the three missing serviceman from the Sultan Yacoub battle, and we hope this information will be handed over."

Baumel, who reiterated what he said Wednesday that the tag is not a "sacred relic," said "despite what you might think, it was not an emotional moment to get the tag. We have so many things in the home from Zacharia, and friends keep coming with so many stories, that a piece of metal doesn't bring us great joy."

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