Noam Shalit at Saturday's protest
Photo: Yaron Brener
Aviva Shalit
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

'Give Gilad his life back for his birthday'

Noam and Aviva Shalit mark their son's 25th birthday, his sixth in captivity, with series of rallies, protests stating: ' We won't let Gilad celebrate alone'

Noam and Aviva Shalit, the parents of captive soldier Gilad Shalit are marking his 25th birthday with a series of demonstrations and rallies under the headline: "We won't let Gilad celebrate alone".


They started their Sunday morning by protesting together with dozens of activists ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem.


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Aviva Shalit held up a sign that read: "Netanyahu, a birthday present for Gilad – getting his life back." While the protestors called out: "The nation demands Gilad" and held signs that read: "Netanyahu – you don't have a mandate to kill a soldier".


The activists also tried to delay some of the ministers' cars and called out: "1890 days in captivity – where are you?"


Speaking at the protest Noam Shalit said: "It feels bad to be here today." He also addressed recent reports about talks concerning his son. "We aren't interested in talks, we want results and successes. If we had results we wouldn't be here."


Shalit also addressed the fact that this would be his son's sixth birthday in Hamas captivity and said: "The intensity of the last few years' struggle dims the memories."


Over the weekend hundreds of activists attended a Shabbat prayer with the Shalit family in their protest tent in front of the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.



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"We will continue to fight and convince those that have yet to be convinced that you are not a poster or a cardboard cutout, you are a live human being, flesh and blood and we will do everything to get you back," Noam Shalit said at the event.


On Saturday Noam Shalit also took part in the social demonstrations held in Tel Aviv and connected his son's captivity with messages coming from the protest encampment throughout the country.


"My family and I are amazed at the wonderful protest spread all across the country, with hundreds of thousands of residents pleading (for the government) to listen to them," Noam Shalit said.


"Social justice is also restoring the values that generations of fighters were educated by – we do not leave IDF soldiers behind."


"Did our leaders forget these values? Camaraderie, mutual guarantee – are they planning to privatize these values as well?" he said.


Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozi sent the Shalit family a letter he wrote in honor of Gilad's 25th birthday.


"Dear Gilad, France does not forget you. The opposite is true – we are especially close to you on this sad birthday," he wrote, adding: "Know that you have my deepest affection and you can be sure of my commitment to your release," Sarkozi said.


He also addressed negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal noting that there is hope that recent developments in talks may prove fruitful in light of Egyptian mediation.



פרסום ראשון: 08.28.11, 10:32
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