South American Shalit petition garners 500,000 signatures
Fifteen Latin American parliaments pass resolutions demanding Hamas-held soldier be released following work by Brazil-based non-profit NGO AMISRAEL. 'It is very touching to see that the matter of my son is no longer just an Israeli problem,' Noam Shalit says
The AMISRAEL organization, a non-profit NGO based in Brazil which supports the State of Israel, presented the achievements of its Latin American campaign on behalf of captive soldier Gilad Shalit over the weekend.
At a press conference held in Jerusalem, Noam Shalit, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein accepted parliamentary resolutions on behalf of the Shalit family and the State of Israel.
In an unusual feat, the group managed to coordinate the passing of resolutions recognizing the severe human rights violations by Hamas and demanding Shalit's immediate release in 15 national parliaments across Latin America.
Dr. William Soto, International Director and Founder of AMISRAEL, travelled from Brazil to Jerusalem to personally present Noam Shalit with the official parliamentary resolutions, and report on their ongoing efforts to promote political action.
The group has also circulated a petition calling on Brazilian President Lula da Silva to personally intercede on behalf of Shalit through his relations with Muslim leaders, which has already collected over half a million signatures in only two weeks.
(L-R:) Rabbis Eliahu Birnbaum, Yona Metzger, Minister Edelstein, Noam Shalit, Kelita Machado and Dr. William Soto of AMISRAEL (Photo courtesy of AMISRAEL)
Addressing the organization's activities in Latin America, Dr. Soto said, “What we are doing here today is to show the people of Israel and the Shalit family that they are not alone, and that the hearts of millions of people on the other side of the world are with you.”
Referring to the group’s more practical policy goals, Dr. Soto added, “If they want to establish a sovereign state in Gaza, the first step is showing acceptance of human rights and core universal values expected of every other state across the globe.”
Accepting Dr. Soto’s presentation, Noam Shalit said, "It is very touching to see that the matter of my son is no longer just an Israeli problem, and I give deep thanks to AMISRAEL for making this a truly global issue.”
'Human rights a two-way street'
Chief Rabbi Metzger also addressed the conference, and said, “Through you, Dr. Soto, I wish to call on all the leaders of Latin America, and especially the President of Brazil, that as you generously donate resources for humanitarian goals in Gaza, please condition this aid to show Gaza’s leaders that human rights must be a two-way street; that just as others care for their human rights, so should they care for Gilad’s.”
AMISRAEL is mostly known in Israel for organizing the Jerusalem International Conference, an annual event at which dozens of political and judicial officials from around the world convene to show their support and meet with their Israeli counterparts.
Minister Edelstein, who has been involved in the group's efforts, summed up the day’s message: “Free Gilad. It’s a simple statement; everybody can relate to it. It doesn’t require any additional explanation or additions. "
AMISRAEL is a non-profit, non-governmental organization composed by individuals of different races and creeds that are identified with the ideals of promoting peace and support to the State of Israel.
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