WASHINGTON – the Consulate General of Israel in New York will mark the grim two year anniversary of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's kidnapping this coming Wednesday with a unique initiative. The consulate recorded and posted a special YouTube video onto its channel with five 5th graders from Middle School 22 in the Bronx reading from the children’s book written Shalit authored when he himself was their age.
‘When the Shark and the Fish First Met’ is a book based on a story written by an 11-year-old Gilad over ten years ago about two enemies that realize it is better to co-exist in peace than to devour one another, defying their parents' prejudice.
"An 11-yead-old by wrote an incredible story that is relevant to the situation he is in today," his father, Noam Shalit, said of the book.
One of the student narrators, 11-year-old Leslie Ramirez, said: “Gilad was a boy our age when he wrote his story. I wish we could write such a meaningful story like Gilad’s at 11. Nobody knows where he is today and I’m sure he misses his parents. If a shark and a fish can make peace, why can’t humans?”
Behind this literary initiative are the Culture Attache at the Consulate General of Israel in New York Yoram Morad and consulate spokesman David Saranga.
“We wanted to raise awareness of this humanitarian cause in the United States and around the world,” said Saranga. “Choosing five pupils from diverse ethnic backgrounds reading a story of reconciliation and peace is a strong message that cannot be ignored.”
The Israeli consulate has recently joined other initiatives on Facebook, the popular social-networking website, where members are encouraged to show their solidarity with the efforts to free Shalit by changing their profile icons to Gilad's picture.
In the two days since the initiative was launched, some 117,000 members uploaded Shalit’s photo onto their personal profile page.