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Press Release – 23 June 2011

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Community public call to action for Gilad Shalit’s 5 years in Hamas captivity

Sadly, the Zionist Council of Victoria will this weekend lead a communal awareness campaign to mark another year of young Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit being held captive by the Hamas regime.

Gilad Shalit’s plight is a humanitarian issue. Gilad is being held against his will by Hamas, and continues to be denied access to medical care and communication with the world outside of his Gaza prison, location unknown. Hamas repeatedly refuses access to him by the International Red Cross and conditions of his captivity are contrary to international humanitarian law. 

This year the campaign “5 Minutes for Gilad” involves 5 minutes of dedicated silence for Gilad, 1 minute to mark each of the 5 years since his kidnapping on June 25, 2006.

The awareness campaign was held earlier this year in Israel with tens of thousands of citizens observing a 5 minute silence. People stood still in the street and traffic stopped. A siren sounded throughout the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. 

The anniversary of Gilad’s kidnapping falls on Saturday 25 June and the Jewish community is rallying around a public campaign that will run from Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26. 

Over that weekend the community will be bringing awareness of Gilad’s plight to others. Jewish schools will be marking 5 Minutes for Gilad at assemblies and synagogues will be including Gilad in dedicated prayers and sermons. People across the community will send a message of support for Gilad and his family on the website www.meetgilad.com.

The Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre will come to a standstill at 11.00am on Friday as part of the campaign. 

The weekend will culminate in a community solidarity gathering at the Caulfield Park Pavilion on Sunday morning at 10.45am. Proceedings will begin with 5 minutes of silence for Gilad.

Member for Caulfield David Southwick MP will address the crowd.

The Facebook event “5 Minutes for Gilad” currently has more than 430 people supporting it.

As part of the solidarity gathering, the community will welcome Israeli adventure cyclist Roei (Jinji) Sadan as he rides into Melbourne from Adelaide. Roei has been riding around the world for the past 4 years, completing 63,000 kilometres so far. For most of his journey Roei has had a “Gilad Still Lives” flag on his bike (photo attached).

ZCV president Sam Tatarka stated “The freedom Roei enjoys living out his dreams and helping others achieve theirs, stands in stark contrast to Gilad’s imprisonment in a cell somewhere in Gaza, deprived of even the most basic human rights.”

Local and international links:
• Joint political call to action by the Zionist Council of Victoria and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria to all sitting members of State Parliament; Parliamentary Friends of Israel and Parliamentary Friends of Palestine
• Australian House of Representatives called to action by The Hon Mark Deyfus QC MP 

 • Multi faith call to action in Ireland
• BBC News Q&A background on Gilad Shalit

The Melbourne Jewish community’s public solidarity to mark “5 Minutes for Gilad Shalit” will take place on Sunday June 26, 10.45am at the Caulfield Park Pavilion, Balaclava Road, Caulfield.

The solidarity gathering will be addressed by Member for Caulfield David Southwick MP and Israeli adventure cyclist Roei Sadan.

To arrange media coverage please contact ZCV public affairs director Elly Shalev 9272 5519,
0400 313197

For more information contact:
Jane Rapke – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544
Elly Shalev – Public Affairs, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5519, 0400 313197
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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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