The walk home from school was an interesting one today. I got to the top of Karen HaYesod and I could hear a horn yelling something I couldn't fully understand. There was a large group of people at the Gilad Shalit demonstration. Usually this amount of people show up on Shabbat when there's not much else to do and people join with Gilad's family. Gilad Shalit is a Sargent in the Israeli Army who was captured towards the end of June, 2006 and is held somewhere in Gaza by Hamas militants.
Just before I got to Israel an march was organized throughout the country to bring people to The House/Office of the Prime Minister (think #10 Downing Street in England). At the demonstration site, both of Gilad's parents stay and the tents have taken more and more space on the corner and has even spread to other sides of the intersection (there are like 6 or 7 corners in the area). It is really an impressive show of support for Gilad and his family.
Their goal? They want the release of their son. Today marks his Hebrew Birthday (the Hebrew calendar is a little bit different than the Gregorian one, needless to say he is 24 years old). Today is also the 1500th day since his abduction from his Army Base on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. The demonstration today was an attempt to have 1500 people be there and circle the blocks. The family is trying to gain momentum for Israel to somehow negotiate for his release from this terrorist organization. Without talking about my specific thoughts on this topic, I will say it was a very powerful protest to see his parents wearing numbers 1 and 2 with a mass of people walking behind them. I didn't see all of the numbers but I know for sure there were around 1300 people that checked in. People were wearing masks with Sgt. Shalit's face and were making a lot of noise.
I know it's a pipe dream, but I hope he is returned to his family. Hopefully something can get done soon.
Gilad Shalit's Parents Leading the Protest March
The Gilad Shalit Protest Tents, They'll be there until he comes home