PM Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Noam Shalit heads to Jerusalem
Photo: Avishag Shear-Yeshuv

Netanyahu: My heart is with Shalit, family

Prime minister tells cabinet he spoke to kidnapped soldier's father ahead of protest march, invited him to his Jerusalem resident at end of journey. 'International community must work to implement our unequivocal demand to release Gilad'

"My heart is with Gilad Shalit and his family," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday morning as thousands of people began marching with the kidnapped soldier's relatives to Jerusalem from the northern community of Mitzpe Hila. Police officials estimated that 10,000 activists were taking part in the journey.


Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called on the international community "to stand up and work to implement our unequivocal demand to release Gilad Shalit.


"Friday marked the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit's abduction," he said. "My government and security elements are working continuously, in open and covert ways, to bring Gilad Shalit home safe and sound.

Marching to Jerusalem, Sunday morning (Photo: Avishag Shear-Yeshuv)


"I telephoned Noam Shalit (the captive's father) this morning and told him they were embarking on a long march. I invited him and his family to meet with me at my residents upon their arrival in Jerusalem. I told him, 'I know you are on a long journey. I would like to see you and I would be happy to meet with you," the prime minister said.


Herzog: Don’t hurt bargaining chips

Several government ministers commented on the matter before the meeting, but most avoided responding to the march. Minister Michael Eitan was criticized by his colleagues for saying during Likud ministers' meeting that he was willing to march with the Shalit family members.


Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog said before the cabinet meeting, "Our heart is with the Shalit family, but I ask the march's organizers not to cross a red line. We must be cautious and sane. The national embrace is very important, but we must also understand that Israel's bargaining chips must not be hurt."


Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said, "We must act calmly and wisely to bring about Shalit's quick release. There is no such thing as a release at any cost. Not one minister supports a release at any cost, and Hamas has not responded to our offer which already includes a very heavy price."


The captive's father slammed the government on Sunday morning, saying that "Gilad has been waiting for four whole years, and is still waiting for those who sent him, for his commanders, for the prime ministers, for the defense ministers, but they are not answering. Instead, he hears – we hear, because I don't know if he can hear – plenty of excuses."


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.10, 10:51
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