Some 2,000 young kibbutz members sailed the waters of the Kinneret Thursday afternoon on homemade rafts in a bid to raise awareness on the status of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The kibbutz youth worked throughout the past few days to build some 75 rafts out of rope, planks, and barrels. They painted colorful slogans in support of Gilad Shalit on the rafts' sails, such as: "Give us information about Gilad, if he is alive or dead" and "No one knows his fate and if he needs medication." They pushed their homemade rafts into the water Thursday and sailed across the Kinneret for about four hours.
Sailing for Gilad Shalit. (Photo: Gil Eliyahu)
"We call upon the government of Israel, Hamas, and the Red Cross – Bring us information on Gilad. Only then address the question of price," said Yoel Marshak from the Kibbutz Movement.
"We think that even before the question of price is raised, it is critical to receive information on Gilad Shalit as soon as possible. Three years have passed during which no one knows his status, where he is being held, in what conditions, and if he is alive or dead," said Marshak.
"The kibbutz youth proved today that only teamwork can overcome the power of nature," Marshak said. He added that each raft required the work of about 25 youngsters.
100 settler youth joined the effort (Photo: Gil Eliyahu)
Some 100 settler youths from Alon Moreh, Yitzhar, and Itamar joined in the building effort Wednesday night. The two groups also held an open discussion on the topic: "Where is the country headed?"
"We explained to them that we seek a solid Jewish majority in the State of Israel without controlling a foreign nation. They explained that they seek to live on the greater Land of Israel," Marshek said.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip 1,117 days ago.