By Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs ~
A few weeks ago our Shabbat afternoon walk in Jerusalem took my wife Vickie and me to the protest tent for Gilad Shalit – the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas on June 25, 2006 and not heard from since. There, I met Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father whose face and demeanor reflected the understandable pain of one who has not known for five years if his son is dead or alive. As I expressed my sympathy for the anguish he endures every moment of every day, he answered sadly, “but nobody cares.” I responded that the entire Jewish world cares, and we hold his son and his family very close to our hearts.
As we walked away Vickie urged me to write a letter to the Red Cross. “They take effective action in every disaster and in other hostage situations around the world, but what have they done about Gilad Shalit? Nothing!” she said.
Hamas has rejected the Red Cross’s request to inform them whether Gilad Sharit is dead or alive. But we cannot let them simply drop the matter. So, I hope I was speaking for all Jews everywhere when I wrote to the president of the International Red Cross to continue to press Hamas for more information and Gilad’s release. Please feel free to send a note similar to the one included below that I sent to the Red Cross in Geneva:
Mr. Jakob Kellenberger
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
19 Avenue de la paix CH 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Sunday, August 28, marks the 25th birthday of Gilad Shalit.
Gilad Shalit has spent five years in captivity after being kidnapped from his army base in Israel by Hamas forces. We urge you to use every possible means to determine whether Gilad Shalit is alive and whether he is being treated in accord with Geneva Convention rules regarding wartime captives. We hope you will actively and publicly work to secure Gilad Shalit’s safe return home to his family.
The Red Cross intervenes effectively in so many crisis and hostage situations. We of the World Union for Progressive Judaism are baffled that the Red Cross whose name engenders universal respect and admiration cannot do more to ease the anguish of the Shalit family and those of us around the world angered by the injustice of Gilad Shalit’s unlawful abduction.
It would be most fitting if the International Red Cross would publicly and forcefully condemn Hamas’ kidnapping of Gilad Shalit and continue to urge Hamas to return him unharmed to his family.
Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs
World Union for Progressive Judaism