Upon their arrival in the city, the activists held a short ceremony. In his speech, Yokneam Mayor Simon Alfassi urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to strike a deal which would secure the captive's release.
"Gilad Shalit is in mortal danger. We know the identity of the bad and cruel enemy holding him. Gilad has not seen the light of day for 351,172 hours. It is the State of Israel's duty to bring him back without waiting even one moment. Every such moment is like eternity for him," the mayor said.
Marching for Gilad on way to Yokneam (Photo: Lior Has)
Alfassi then turned to the Shalit family members and said, "We stand with you and want you to know that your struggle is our struggle, and the struggle of every citizen in the State of Israel."
Shimshon Liebman, head of the Shalit campaign, thanked the participants and once again compared the protest to the Gaza flotilla affair.
"I turn from here to the prime minister and tell him: Look at the masses, at the people encouraging us from the sides of the roads, those standing in traffic jams and honking in solidarity. There is real glue here. We are on a flotilla of the love of Israel and the love of our sons, and this is your opportunity to make a tough but right decision."
The captive's father, Noam Shalit, said that "the images speak for themselves. There is no doubt that the people have decided Gilad should be home. This has been decided a long time ago, and now it's being expressed in this march."
Later Wednesday, the protest march was expected to leave the municipality building in Zichron Yaacov towards the Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa.