Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(NEWS) Travelers To Israel Address Abduction Of Gilad Shalit

"When Danielle Starr and Jacob Finn traveled to Israel over the summer, they learned a valuable lesson when they came across a rally attended by thousands of people for an imprisoned soldier named Gilad Shalit.

'In Israel, one person means everything. Every soldier matters,' said Starr, 17, who was in Israel with Finn, 16, as members of United Synagogue Youth.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for the abduction of Shalit, then a 19-year-old Israeli soldier, in June 2006 from a base in southern Israel close to the Gaza Border.

On Sunday, Starr and Finn spoke at another rally to demand justice for Shalit, this time attended by about 60 people at Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks.

Starr told the gathering about the rally in Israel, where Shalit’s mother spoke about her son and pleaded for his release.

'It scared a lot of us. He represents a lot of kids there who must join the military, and they’re about our age,' said Starr.

Starr and Finn, both religious school aides at Temple Etz Chaim, said Shalit’s story isn’t as well-known locally.

'We want to tell people his story because he represents all of us. This could happen to anyone,' said Finn.

During Sunday’s rally in Thousand Oaks, many in attendance held signs with words such as 'Gilad, we are with you' and 'Justice for Gilad Shalit. Free him now.'

Rabbi Richard Spiegel of Temple Etz Chaim said Shalit was taken hostage by armed Palestinian militants who crossed into Israel.

Two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinian militants were killed in the attack and three Israelis wounded. Shalit reportedly had shrapnel wounds to his hand and shoulder.

Shalit was carried back across the border, and his whereabouts today are unknown.

The incident led to Israel’s first ground invasion into Gaza since its withdrawal a year earlier.

Spiegel said Hamas has refused requests from the International Committee of the Red Cross to check on Shalit, and Shalit’s family has received only three letters and one voice message from him since 2006.

Several human rights organizations have stated that the terms and conditions of Shalit’s detention are contrary to international humanitarian law, said Spiegel.

'A terrible injustice has been done. This young man needs to be given his rights. He needs to come home. Our voices need to be raised, here in our temple and everywhere,' said Spiegel.

Tobi Ruth Love, head of Sunday’s rally and a member of Temple Etz Chaim, said Israel already released 20 female prisoners in exchange for a tape of Shalit, but Hamas now wants a thousand more prisoners released.

'It isn’t just the number, it’s who. They want them out in the street to kill more people,' said Love.

Love urged the public to get involved by writing President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their local representatives.

'At the very minimum, we can get Gilad the humane treatment he deserves, she said." (source)

Want alerts for new videos?
Like us on Facebook.