At a time when there is a major campaign to return the hostages held captive by Hamas since October 7, marathon runner Gazzacho Pennetta continues to try to raise awareness about the return of Avera Mengistu, an Israeli citizen of Ethiopian origin who entered the Gaza Strip in September 2014.
Every day, Fanta posts a story on Instagram stating the number of days Mangistu has been in Gaza and has not returned, and videos from his training in which he wears a shirt calling for Abra to be brought home. Fanta made headlines after crossing the finish line at the 2017 Tel Aviv Marathon, waving a shirt with the slogan "How long is Avera Mengistu?", during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Israeli 50-kilometer champion, ran a marathon in his living room, which he dedicated to Mengistu.
Fanta's story, photo: from Instagram
"We continue to fight," Panetta told Israel Hayom: "We are fighting for Mengistu to enter the list of names of those released every time. Until a month ago, they didn't talk about him, and it seems that the state has forgotten him. I keep running with my shirt on and call for him to be returned as soon as possible. We also have representatives every evening at the Abductees' Square, who wave his picture and try to be mentioned as much as possible, it's not easy, it's a slightly different story and people also judge straight away and say, 'He crossed the fence on his own initiative,' even in the media and the government don't talk about him."
"Now is an opportunity to make a deal for everyone, including everyone, I have a fear and fear that they will eventually leave him behind because there is no one fighting for him, so we continue to mention him in every situation, in every training, in every race. I hope that in the next stage they will bring him back as well, along with Hadar Goldin, Oron Shaul and Hisham al-Sayed."
Panetta added: "Until last Friday, I thought he would be among the first to bring him back, but it didn't come to fruition. People don't understand his situation, a mentally ill man who crossed the fence. We don't know what he went through or what condition he is in."
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Hadar Goldin, Oron Shaul and Avra Mengistu, Photo: AFP, EPA
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