Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nationwide events mark 5 years of Gilad Schalit's captivity

Hundreds gather outside PMO in J'lem at Schalit protest tent; rally planned near Netanyahu's private residence; Zvi Schalit blames PM for failure to release Gilad; Sarkozy letter to Schalit delivered to protest tent.


Hundreds of people began gathering at the Schalit family tent set up outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem Saturday afternoon to offer their support to the family's demand that their son, Gilad, be released from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip. Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of Gilad Schalit's kidnapping by Hamas terrorists along the Gaza border.

At 7 p.m., a rally is planned at the Cesarea Museum near Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's private residence in a planned show of public pressure on the prime minister to advance a prisoner exchange deal that would free the IDF soldier. The event, which is being billed as a "march on Cesarea," is intended to show the prime minister that "his political future is directly related wellbeing and release of Gilad," organizers said.

Beginning at 8 p.m., a 24-hour live broadcast will begin showing various celebrities and former POWs sitting inside a makeshift dark closet-like prison cell - for one hour each - to reflect the conditions of captivity Schalit is living in. The webcast can be viewed on

On Sunday at 8:30 a.m., supporters are expected to join the weekly protest held by Gilad's parents, Noam and Aviva, outside the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Noting the fifth anniversary of Schalit's kidnapping and the failure of government efforts to release him, the protesters plan to ask government ministers: "Dear Minister, five years have past. In captivity there is no tomorrow. When will you save Gilad?"     More