Noam and Aviva Shalit, parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who have been waging a months-long campaign in a protest tent stationed outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.
This was the second meeting held between the couple and Netanyahu since they concluded their nationwide protest march for their son in July.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half, Noam Shalit said, "The prime minister joined the president in his call for us to take a break during the holiday."
Noam and Aviva Shalit entering prime minister's residence (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
However, Shalit said, "We are not in a position to allow ourselves to take a break."
He asserted that nothing new has occurred on the campaign front for his son. "The prime minister invited us for a meeting on the eve of Rosh Hashana together with the mediator. We were updated that efforts were made, but, unfortunately, this is the fifth Rosh Hashana already that Gilad is captive in Hamas' basements in Gaza."
Gilad's father added, "For eight months now nothing has happened except talking, overtures, and explanations. Nothing has happened except removing the civilian blockade on Gaza after the flotilla fiasco. No negotiations are being conducted currently with Hamas. There is no pressuring. Unfortunately, neither are there bargaining chips."
He noted that it has been a year since a sign of life was received. "We have demanded along with thousands of citizens who attend the protest tent every week that the prime minister do everything in his capacity to bring the mediator back to the region, to work with him, to pay what is necessary, and to reach a quick deal before it is too late. This is not a cliché. He must be returned before there is nothing left to return."
'Gather strength in Mitzpe Hila'
The prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu, and chief negotiator in the talks for Gilad Shalit, Hagai Hadas, were also present in the meeting. Sara Netanyahu wished the family "for this to be your last Rosh Hashana without him."
PM Netanyahu promised the family to continue working day and night in order to bring Gilad home. He updated them regarding efforts being made on a number of channels, including in Washington. He pleaded with the family to return home to Mitzpe Hila "to gather strength" during the holidays before returning to Jerusalem.
Last week, Noam and Aviva Shalit met with President Shimon Peres at his Jerusalem residence. Noam Shalit said after the meeting that the president expressed his appreciation for their unflagging campaign for the release of their son, but asked that they take "time off" to refresh.
Gilad Shalit has been in Hamas captivity for 1,534 days
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