Some 300 people attended a rally outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Friday evening, in which they called on Benjamin Netanyahu to work for the quick release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The event was held under the banner, "Welcoming Shabbat in captivity", and the participants were served with water and dry pieces of bread.
Gilad's father, Noam Shalit, attended the protest with his son Yoel. "Gilad has been crying out quietly for four long years, four years which are like eternity for him, four years in which he has not seen the light of day," he said.
"He is crying out to us just like dear Ron (missing navigator Ron Arad) did in his last letter, crying out to those who sent him on the mission from which he did not return, in which his freedom was deprived. But they are just replacing seats – and not responding."
Noam Shalit. 'Gilad, you have suffered enough' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Shalit turned directly to his son, who will be marking the end of his fourth year in captivity next week, and urged him to hold on. "I promise you, our dear son Gilad, that we shall not ignore your quiet cry which echoes in our ears, and will not let you call on us much longer.
"If you hear me from here, hold on just a little longer in your daily war of survival. I promise you that we will regain your freedom which was deprived from you four years ago. You have suffered enough."
"We wanted to demonstrate what Gilad has been going through for 203 Shabbat nights," explained one of the event's initiators, Shirley Talmi. "This is why we placed dry bread and water on the table, in order to demonstrate that every day passing in captivity is intolerable."
Rally's participants (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Hezi Shai and Yosef Grof, who were released in a prisoner exchange deal in 1985, described the difficulties they experienced during their time in captivity.
Miki Goldwasser, the mother of fallen soldier Udi Goldwasser, took part in the event as well. The rally was also attended by reserve officers, who mentioned that the prime minister was personally responsible for releasing the captive soldier.
The activists plan to stay at the protest tent in Jerusalem throughout the weekend in solidarity with Gilad Shalit.