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Catriel Lev
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Mar 8, 2011

Gilad Shalit Solidarity Event; He has Spent Almost Five Years in Captivity!

On Tuesday, the 15th of March, at 11 AM, there will be a Gilad Shalit solidarity event to remind us all that it has been almost five years since Gilad Shalit was taken captive by the Hamas (on June 25th, 2006).

UPDATE ADDED ON Wednesday, the 9th of March: This morning I spoke to Kobi Sidi (050-222-2622) the initiator of this entire Solidarity Event, and I asked him the BIG question (which is also alluded to in my discussion in the comments with my friend and neighbor Shaul Behr from RBS-Alef): Is the aim of this Event to demonstrate against the government and to pressure it to accede to Hamas demands, or is the aim to express solidarity with Gilad and to ensure that he is not forgotten? Kobi answered me that the sole aim is to express solidarity with Gilad and to ensure that he is not forgotten. He said that this event does not aim to tell the government HOW to free Gilad, but just to ensure that his situation doesn't fade from the public awareness, and also said that the Police have been informed of the five minute possible stoppage of traffic. He said that another idea which he had was a similar solidarity event for Jonathan Pollard.

It, of course, may be suggested that even if Kobi, who leads this event, is sincere, the event may, nevertheless, be hijacked to put pressure on the government. While I am concerned about this aspect of things, I decided to participate and to try to ensure that this event remains a purely solidarity event, with one of my reasons being that I feel that we have to try to do something for solidarity with Gilad and also to unite on our common ground of that solidarity.

While it appears that some of the organizers of this solidarity event feel that the activities are supposed to pressure the government to "work harder" for Gilad's release (apparently by complying with more of the demands presented by the Hamas); I do not feel that this event must be interpreted in that manner.

This solidarity event appears to me to be commemoration of the fact that a Jewish soldier has not yet been freed from his captivity, and we must not forget to do our best (without sacrificing our country's overriding interests) to achieve his freedom. As such, I expect to do my small part in participating in these activities according to my perception of what they mean.

The original initiator of these activities is an Israeli named Kobi Sidi, who requests that people who are able to distribute fliers/posters (unlike me) about this Gilad Shalit solidarity event contact him at 050-222-2622.

The main symbolic action suggested by the organizers of these activities is to stop whatever we are doing at 11 AM on Tuesday, 15/3/11, and to go outside for 5 minutes to show solidarity with Gilad. The organizers suggest stopping traffic, if possible, at the nearest intersection in a careful manner (they emphasize taking care in a flier that I have seen; so this is not a group of wild-eyed crazies) for 5 minutes; but the main point seems to be to focus the attention of all of Am Yisrael on solidarity with Gilad's plight, which is something that I am very much in favor of.

I hope and pray that we will see Gilad Shalit free and healthy among us very soon (perhaps even as a result of a military action based upon intelligence information which could liberate him)!


  1. I don't understand your position. OT1H you recognize that the purpose of these protests is to put more pressure on our govt to make insane concessions. OTOH you say you will support the protests, with the quiet knowledge in your own mind that your motivation is different from everyone else's.

    That's kind of like me going to a Peace Now rally, because I want there to be peace now.

    These "rallies for Gilad Shalit" are unforunately doing more harm than good to the cause of freeing poor Gilad, as they only encourage Hamas to up the ante.

    My advice: stay away from this crowd of useful idiots.

  2. Hi Shaul,

    First of all, I do not use abbreviations in clarifying philosophical issues, so I never learned what OT1H and OTOH mean; however, the context leads me to believe that you mean "on the one hand" and "on the other hand".

    To the issue itself: you totally misunderstand me!

    I never said that I thought that "the purpose of these protests is to put more pressure on our govt to make insane concessions". What I said is that it appears that SOME of the organizers feel that the activities are supposed to pressure the government!

    No official statement has proclaimed that the event is aimed at pressuring the government, but some people involved may feel that way, while others appear not to feel that way.

    So I support such a non-partisan approach of expressing solidarity with Gilad Shalit. We should be able to put aside our differences and express solidarity for Gilad Shalit as a Jew in captivity, in which we all believe; or else we have lost a serious component of our own national identity!


  3. My point is that no matter what the intention, any "pro-Gilad" rally, unless it is staged outside the Red Cross, Hamas or PA embassies around the world, is inherently a form of pressure on our govt, which is exactly the wrong thing to be doing if you really want to see Gilad released. Creating pressure on the Israeli govt only emboldens Hamas to demand ever-higher ransoms, which we cannot afford to pay.

    If you really want to see him released, then you should be campaigning to restrict rights of Hamas prisoners in Israel, and staging demonstrations outside the Red Cross and every embassy of the PA in the world. But not in Israel.

  4. Shalom Again Shaul,

    Yes, I understood that part of it too; but I still feel that a solidarity event, as opposed to a demonstration, can take place anywhere, even in Israel and not inherently be pressuring our government. Of course, if I see indications that the solidarity event is being promoted for pressure upon our government I will not participate. That was also why I specifically mentioned that I got the feeling that some of the organizers of this solidarity event feel that we should pressure our own government: so that anyone who feels as I do could be aware of the need to examine this event in a non-naive manner to be sure that it is not aimed at pressure upon our own government.

    I will gladly participate in any demonstration you can organize outside the Red Cross which must have some representation here in Israel which we can go to; but I also support solidarity events.

    You could also organize demonstrations in Israel to restrict rights of Hamas prisoners in Israel, as you proposed (as a means to pressure the Hamas about Gilad Shalit, I assume), and I would participate. Unfortunately, I am not able to organize demonstrations (just as I did not organize the solidarity event), but I participate in those which promote goals I support.

  5. just stood outside in kikar tzarfat with noam shalit and hundreds of others, for five minutes. solidarity prevailed.

    arnie draiman

  6. Yasher Koach, Arnie.

    I am glad to hear that their was general unity in solidarity with Gilad Shalit where you were in Jerusalem.

    I was in downtown Bet Shemesh at 11 AM on the morning of the Solidarity Event, and a few people stopped for the five minutes, but more simply drove on. However, several seemed to take note of the sign I had printed on my printer which I held up and which said that these five minutes were for solidarity with Gilad Shalit, and one soldier actual accepted one of the copies I had printed on my printer.

    Let us pray that Gilad Shalit will be set free soon, and that so will Jonathan Pollard!