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Press Release – 5 October 2009

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Sign of life from Gilad a hopeful step towards his release

The Zionist Council of Victoria has viewed with hope the video tape of Gilad Shalit, released by his Hamas terrorist kidnappers in exchange for the release of 20 Palestinian prisoners over the weekend.

“Gilad was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from his military post inside Israel to the Gaza Strip 1,200 days ago; since June 25, 2006 his family has lived in limbo, not knowing his fate or the state of his physical or mental wellbeing. The video tape is a sign of life; Gilad’s parents, his family and friends, Israelis and Jewish communities all over the world have been waiting for this sign and we know now that Gilad is alive” ZCV President Dr Danny Lamm said today.

“However we know there is a still a long way to go until Gilad is freed” added Lamm echoing the sentiments of activists in Israel campaigning for Gilad’s release and now utilizing the power of Gilad’s taped image to strengthen the campaign.

From Israel Gilad’s father Noam said that “the tape is not the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is an important, vital step.” He expressed concern that this was not a breakthrough and that this could be dragged out over years. He stated, “In spite of our impression that he [Gilad] is in relatively good condition, we cannot forget that he is suffering and rotting in Hamas prison nearly 1,200 long days and nights”.

The Zionist Council urges community members to keep Gilad’s name and his plight; his family’s plight alive. “Talk about Gilad to your family and friends and keep up with the Blue Ribbon campaign that the Zionist Council of Victoria initiated back in June 2006 at the mass community rally at Melbourne’s Caulfield Park right after Hamas kidnapped Gilad” said Dr Lamm.

Following community rallies in 2006, 2007 and 2008 the Zionist Council of Victoria has been continuing the community campaign to free Gilad alive by maintaining an image of the blue ribbon on its website www.zionismvictoria.org.au as well as distributing information and analysing media reports via its Israel Advocacy Network updates. Special reports were issued on Friday October 2 and today about the video tape of Gilad. The ZCV’s weekly EventZ newsletter contains a section urging community members to add the image of the blue ribbon or the image and words “Gilad is still alive” as they appear on the website dedicated to Gilad’s release www.habanim.org.

“The Blue Ribbon campaign will go on until Hamas releases Gilad and he is back home in Israel with his family” stressed Dr Lamm. 

For more information contact:
Elly Shalev – Public Affairs Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5519
Ginette Searle – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544
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The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website www.zionismvictoria.org.au

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