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EXCLUSIVE: Wife of Kidnapped Israeli Soldier Speaks Out

by Karmel Melamed

February 10, 2007 | 10:50 am


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
By Karmel Melamed
10/18/06

Her eyes filled with her tears and her voice echoed with pain as Karnit Goldwasser, wife of kidnapped Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser, sat down with me during her visit to Los Angeles last month to shed light on the captivity of her soulmate in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. July 12, 2006 was supposed to be the last day of Ehud’s mandatory military service in the Israeli army, a few days before his 31st birthday, and a special time for the newlyweds to share together. But instead that day has forever been imprinted in Karnit’s life as one of pain after Hezbollah terrorists attacked her husband’s platoon while they were patrolling Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. They killed a number of them and kidnapped Ehud along with another soldier Eldad Regev. Hezbollah’s unprovoked kidnapping and rocket attacks on northern Israel sparked a one month war between the terrorist organization and Israel. Although there has been a cessation of the fighting, Karnit’s battle to be reunited with her beloved “Udi” has still raged on with her traveling around the world meeting with world leaders and the media to get any sign that he is alive. Karnit’s brief stop in Southern California was just one of many in the U.S. to encourage Americans to pressure the International Red Cross in Beirut to fulfill their duties under international laws and get confirmation of her husband’s condition. Despite the long hours and exhaustive traveling Karnit’s courageous refusal to give up on being reunited with Ehud, speaks to the undying love of the human spirit.

Obviously this ordeal has been painful for you, where do you draw the strength to continue traveling, speaking, meeting with the media, different groups, and world leaders?

His smile and my husband himself makes me strong. I realized how much he strengthened me the day he was kidnapped. It took the army several hours to understand that he was kidnapped and in those hours they let me think that he might be dead. But when I realized he was just kidnapped, I knew I would see his smile again.

It’s been nearly two months since your husband, Ehud was kidnapped, what aspect of this ordeal has been most frustrating for you?

The worst part of the day is going to bed alone and to wake up alone. After you get married and find your partner for life you know that you’re not going to sleep alone anymore. So being without him now is not easy.

Prior to his capture, you had only been married for 10 months and were ready to start your lives together as his military service was ending. Can you share with us a little about who the real Ehud Goldwasser is personally?

My husband is not a man of war. He loves nature, riding his mountain bike and motorcycles, nature, and he can’t live without reading. He told me once it was going to be hard to live with him because he would always go against the flow. This is what makes us different and there’s always something new for us to do together because he always wants to explore new things. He always says ‘Karnit, I have a new idea…we’re going to do this, this, and this’. I’d ask him why and he says ‘come on try it, it’ll be fun’.

Is there a part of your husband’s kidnapping or the events so far that most Americans do not know that you think has been overlooked?
I don’t know what they know but it’s important for them to know that my husband was kidnapped from Israel while patrolling the border. He did not attack anyone. Hezbollah sent rockets into Israel and he was kidnapped without any reason.

You’ve met with Israeli government officials, Jesse Jackson, and U.N. Chief Kofi Annan. What would you like to see be done differently as far as the diplomacy on behalf of your husband?

First of all I’d like to see some sign of life from my husband. I’ve met with a lot of people and they promised me that they would help me, but I am not the one that needs help. I am here, I can drink, I can eat— I want to help him. I am tired of the words and I want to see actions done. The first action should be some sign of life and the second should be Udi and the soldiers back home. I want to encourage him, if they can tell him ‘Udi you should sent a sign that you’re alive to your wife’ that would be great. I don’t know his condition and I want to encourage him. I met Kofi Annan, Jesse Jackson, Mrs. Clinton and everyone else that I met here—I am very happy to hear from them because they encourage me. But now I am asking what can we do to encourage them being held in Lebanon?

If you had the ability to speak directly to your husband’s captors what message would you have for them?

I would prefer to speak with the wives of those people guarding Udi. I would tell her that she knows that her husband is alive, she sees her husband everyday, and if not she can call him on the phone. I cannot do that and I would ask her help in letting me see my husband again.

What message would you have for your husband if you could communicate with him?

I know he’s very worried because I am here alone. I would tell him not to worry for me and to know that we’re trying to help him.

You seem very optimistic about the outcome of this tragedy, may I ask what your plans are after your reunion with Ehud?

I am going to meet him, that’s for sure. I am optimistic because Udi always told me to be optimistic. After I hug and kiss him and everyone else does the same, I tell him what we have done for him and let him see everything everyone has done for him. Until he is with me again I won’t stop…I just won’t stop.

For more information on how to support Karnit Goldwasser and the two other families of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers please visit www.habanim.org.

This article was originally published in Beverly Hills 90210 Magazine.

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