Defense Minister Ehud Barak is currently on vacation abroad with his wife, but that has not deterred dozens of activists from the Shalit campaign headquarters from protesting in front of the statesman's residence in north Tel Aviv on Friday.
The protestors arrived with signs and posters reading "Barak is burying a soldier alive," with black ribbons tied to their hands and feet.
Gilad Shalit's father, Noam Shalit, met with Shalit special envoy Hagai Hadas Thursday for an update on the status of negotiations for his son's release.
Protesters outside Barak's Tel Aviv residence (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Among those protesting were many youths about to enlist in the IDF.
Barak Eger, 18, from Tel Aviv, will be enlisting this upcoming November and makes it to nearly all the rallies for Shalit's return. "I came to protest because Gilad Shalit has already been in captivity for three years, and there is no progress in saving him.
"There is no sign of life. We are trying to pressure Barak to do something. It won't stop me from enlisting, but I can definitely understand people who don't enlist after seeing what happens to a captured soldier, what the country is doing for him," he explained.
Shir Sela, 17, from Ramat Gan, is also slated to enlist this year. "We came here to say that it is forbidden to abandon a soldier in captivity. I am afraid and don't want to enlist. Two days ago, my friend enlisted to a combat unit. I told her I am crippled with fear. I will sit at home, shaking and praying that what happened to Gilad won't happen to her," she said.
Hadar Miller, from the Gilad Shalit campaign headquarters, said that the rally organizers only learned at the last minute that the defense minister is abroad. "We decided to continue with our plans because we don't want him to come downstairs as usual to say that he is committed to Gilad.
"We want him to see the posters on Ynet and to prove that he is committed to Gilad with his actions. We see him as the highest commander," she said.
Miller said the campaign headquarters plan on organizing additional rallies in front of public figures' homes in the upcoming weeks. "Perhaps in front of the chief of staff's house because we see him as responsible also. It is a shame we don't know how to burn garbage bins like the religious because they released the 'starving mother' but not Gilad."
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report