Gilad Shalit: Two years in terrorist captivity
20 Jul 2008
Two years have passed since the unprovoked abduction of Gilad Shalit on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza.
On June 25, 2006 IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, was abducted on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. On the first anniversary of his abduction (25 June 2007), Hamas released a recorded message of Gilad Shalit's voice - the first sign of life since he was abducted. Shalit's father Noam indicated that the voice - if not the wording of the message - was that of Gilad.
Addressing the members of the diplomatic corps in Israel, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "Hamas is making cynical use of the suffering of Gilad Shalit, the pain of his family, the pain of the people of Israel, in order to dictate its own brutal agenda in the region, in order to undermine a political process which is taking place right now to create a better future for the region. Hamas is responsible for the life and health of Gilad Shalit, and we, the Israeli government, will take all steps to bring him back home."
This recording, while an important development, cannot be seen as a substitute for what Hamas must really do: namely, to allow the International Red Cross to immediately visit Gilad Shalit and to allow him to receive proper medical attention.
At age 11, abducted soldier Gilad Shalit wrote a story entitled "When the Shark and the Fish First Met" about a fish and a shark who meet and, though natural enemies, they decide to become friends and live in peace.
Five 5th grade students from New York read the book Gilad wrote at age 11 - "Gilad was a boy our age when he wrote this story. Today, no one knows where he is. If the shark and fish can make peace, why can’t people?"
Listen to the story:Children reading for Gilad Shalit
Gilad is a well-mannered, quiet and introverted young man. An almost permanent shy and hesitant smile light up his face. Gilad is always volunteering to help everyone.
Gilad began his military service about a year before his abduction - at the end of July 2005. Despite a low medical profile, he preferred to serve in a combat unit, followed his elder brother Yoel into the armored corps. After successfully ended his training, Gilad was guarding and ensuring the security of the settlements around Gaza when he was abducted by terrorists.
Since the attack at Kerem Shalom on Sunday, June 25, 2006, Gilad has been held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas.
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On July 12, 2006 Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were abducted on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border - an action that precipitated widespread confrontation between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. This unprovoked abduction was carried out on sovereign Israeli territory.
On July 16, 2008 their bodies were returned to Israel.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak (26 June 2008): "As a soldier, former commander and defense minister I say that we have a moral responsibility to bring the soldiers back home, dead or alive."