His name could have been Abraham or Joe. Or Stephanie. This could have been anyone’s kid. By now, he could have earned his BA, with distinctions, traveled the world with his backpack, or could simply be taking a break on his parents’ couch, watching others on TV. Maybe he’d be hanging around with friends thinking of something great and fun to do; something totally “normal,” like going to play tennis, walking on the beach and catching up on Facebook; maybe he’d even become an activist for a cause. And help someone.

But his name is Gil’ad. The last time his parents – or anyone - saw him was June 2006, and not because he is having a fun time hiking through the Machu Picchu or learning meditation in a secluded ashram. While on active duty as an IDF soldier, then holding the rank of corporal, he was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid, near the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel, and has been held prisoner at an unknown location in the Gaza Strip ever since. Every day we get up, eat breakfast, are upset at traffic, complain about service at a restaurant, read a funny email or just gaze aimlessly at the view outside our windows, this kid is sitting in a dungy, dark hole, alone and most likely not well-taken care of, waiting for more than 1700 days for someone to get him out of there.

On March 15, 2011 at 11:00am, Israeli citizens are being asked to step out and stop anything they are doing for just 5 minutes – one minute for each year that has gone by – to demonstrate care and solidarity and the demand that something must be done. Politics around this issue are complex. And one more minor detail – 11:00am Israel time is 1:00am CA time. Unless you’re sleepless in San Francisco, we probably won’t be able to organize anything here. But we ask that we don’t forget.

- by Michal Kohane, Israel Center Director

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Categories: Israel


March 11, 2011


The Federation