On Friday, the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit's kidnapping, the IDF soldier's parents posted two separate videos on YouTube and online social networks in which they ask citizens to join their protest march and call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work towards their son's immediate release.
"My son has been rotting in Hamas' dungeons for four years; 1,460 days and nights in which we haven't met…Four years as long as eternity. Four years of a continuous nightmare," Aviva Shalit said in the video.
She called on Israeli decision-makers to do everything in their power to bring her son home. "I believe the State is responsible for its soldiers. I believe that after four years in which an entire country has failed to bring a captive soldier home, it must pay the price before it is too late," she said. "This is not about a strategic compromise – a bigger strategic compromise is to abandon all values."
The soldier's father, Noam, said in his video, "For four years an entire country, with all the means at its disposal – two governments, two prime ministers, two defense ministers and to chiefs of staff failed completely – despite the fact that Gilad is just a few kilometers from the State of Israel's southern border."
Noam Shalit also said time was running out and that the family would camp outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem until Gilad is released. "Gilad is my son, but he was sent on a mission by the State of Israel. He never returned from that mission," the father said.
Addressing Prime Minister Netanyahu, Noam Shalit said, "Gilad's life is in your hands. There is no more time left. Return Gilad to his home now, before it is too late. Enough talk. It is time for decisions. Pay the necessary price and return Gilad to his home."
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives unanimously called on Hamas to free Shalit.
The bill, which was passed Thursday and initiated by US Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), demands that “Hamas immediately and unconditionally release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit” and that the Islamist group allow “prompt access to the Israeli captives by competent medical personnel and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
Ackerman said of Hamas in his floor speech, “These allegedly religious militants are just thugs. Nothing more. They hold up all kinds of banners and they champion all sorts of causes and they claim all kinds of mandates. But their real goal is power, and their true intention is the destruction of Israel.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a personal statement saying Congress would continue to support the Shalit family and work toward securing peace and security for Israel.
Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to the story