Friends and relatives of Ethiopian-Israeli man Avera Mengistu, who is believed to be held captive by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, staged a protest outside Hadarim prison in central Israel on Monday.
Mengistu, 28, disappeared after entering Gaza on his own accord on Sept. 7, 2014, two weeks after the end of Israel’s war with Hamas last summer. He is believed to be mentally unstable.
The protest at Hadarim prison was timed to coincide with visitors’ day for Palestinian inmates there. The protesters demonstrated against Hamas’s inhumane holding of Mengistu, noting that in Israel human rights are respected and Palestinian prisoners receive visits from their families.
Protesters asked Palestinians visiting their loved ones in prison to pass their message on to Hamas, handing out fliers in Arabic. The Mengistu family says this will be the first in a series of humanitarian protests against Hamas.
“This is just the beginning of a long struggle, and we don’t know when or how it will end,” activist Matan Ayala said at the demonstration.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Mengistu family more than a month ago, promising to do everything possible to return their son to Israel. According to the family, progress toward his release has yet to be made.