Category: U.S.

Their troubled brother wandered into Gaza. Now his Ethiopian-Israeli family wants US help to get him back.

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ilan Mengistu knows his pitch to rescue his brother, Avera, should be a no-brainer to Jews — “pidyon shvuyim,” the redemption of the hostage, is among the greatest of commandments.

But Mengistu also knows that the story he has to tell is not the straightforward narrative longed for by those who would do good: Avera was not a soldier, nor was he captured exactly. He crossed into the Gaza Strip of his own volition.

Mengistu came to Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., last week with his mother to raise awareness of the plight of…