Tuesday, August 10, 2010


28th August marks Gilad Shalit's 24th birthday. Gilad was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in a cross border raid from the Gaza Strip on 25th June 2006, aged just 19. He has been held hostage by Hamas ever since with almost no contact to the outside world.

To mark Gilad’s birthday, the Zionist Federation on behalf of the Jewish community is launching a campaign to increase awareness of his plight in the form of a badge appeal. Similar to the bright yellow ribbons in Israel, the ZF has produced thousands of yellow badges which are available in Jewish shops around London or for order online at www.gilad.org.uk. We are asking members of the community to wear the badges in order to raise awareness, and show their solidarity with Israel. Also via the website, we are inviting people to send their wishes to Gilad’s family. There they can also sign a petition that will be passed on to the UK Government, encouraging them to place pressure on the relevant agencies to ensure the safe release of Gilad Shalit.

Four years, two governments, two prime ministers, two defence ministers, and two heads of the Israeli Armed Forces have unsuccessfully tried to secure a prisoner exchange with Hamas. The International Red Cross has given Shalit the status of Prisoner of War, a status which guarantees visits by the Red Cross and contact with their families. By never complying with these rules, Hamas is violating international human rights. The attempts by the International Red Cross to secure Gilad's release from captivity have not been sufficient. The ICRC ways to put pressure behind its demands and to enforce them. After over four years, we urge them to increase their efforts.

The ZF urges everyone to redouble their own personal activity on this important issue, by writing to their MP, contacting the press and broadcast media during the week of Gilad's birthday, and simply by spreading the word among their own networks.