Written by an anonymous Year Course chanich….
Last week, we had a very emotional peula about Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held hostage since the summer of 2006. We all gathered in the Year Course Beit Knesset (synagogue) where for 30 minutes, our madrichim taught us about the situation.
Shiri said to us, “I’d like you to see some photos of my son” and showed us some adorable baby photos. She told us about her “son” and how he likes sports and is a shy kid. She then told us she hadn’t heard from him for a while and was going to show us the latest video he had sent her. It was the video of Gilad Shalit that Hamas sent to Israel in October of 2009. If we hadn’t figured it out yet, we now she she was talking about Gilad Shalit. What a powerful moment.
Then Jonny played the role of prime minister, breaking down the facts about Shalit’s capture: when it happened, where, what were the circumstances, and what has been done up until now in terms of negotiations. Keshet spoke as an Israeli soldier. She described the feelings that Israeli kids our age have about heading in to the army, knowing that what happened to Gilad could happen to them. Finally, Ayelet acted as the mother of a girl who was killed in a 2001 terror attack. The perpetrator of the attack is currently in prison but is being requested by Hamas as part of the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit. She presented the point of view of those who do not think we should release these prisoners in exchange for Gilad. She also spoke about the march for Shalit that happened this July and told us that the Shalit family has been camping out since then in front of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.
Dressed in our blue Year Course shirts and handing out flyers that said in Hebrew “Gilad Shalit, 1610 days in captivity,” we walked from campus over to the tent. It was quite a moving moment to see his father and mother sitting in the tent, surrounded by well-wishers, visitors, and volunteers. The tent was covered in signatures and artwork of supporters. Many of us signed their petition for Gilad’s release and took yellow ribbons to tie to our purses and backpacks to show support.
Here are some photos from that evening and also the video of Gilad from last fall.
- Inside Israel