September 21, 2009
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Hundreds of postcards written by Americans for Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit, held by the Hamas regime, will be handed over to the Red Cross in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. A similar project is underway in Argentina.
The delivery of the postcards is the culmination of a Jewish Agency initiative during the month of August, in which representatives of the organization traveled throughout the United States to raise awareness of Israel's ongoing hostage situation in Gaza. The Jewish Agency's Shalit solidarity events were sponsored and hosted in collaboration with the various local Jewish Federations and other Jewish communal organizations. Under the slogan "Gilad is our son" - meaning the child of the entire Jewish people - the events were centered on Shalit's 23rd birthday, his fourth in the clutches of Palestinian Authority jihadists.
At the conclusion of each of the Shalit solidarity events, participants were asked to sign postcards intended for Gilad. Hundreds of cards were collected and are to be officially delivered to representatives of the Red Cross, along with a demand that the international organization make it a priority to visit the Jewish captive.
The meeting on Tuesday is slated to include members of the Jewish Agency's board, its senior North American officials, CEO of the American Red Cross Gail McGovern, and Mary Werntz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In addition to the postcards, Jewish Agency officials will hand over an Internet petition with thousands of virtual signatures calling for the Red Cross to take immediate action on Shalit's behalf. The petition calls for the Red Cross to obtain information on the captive's wellbeing, to ensure he receives all the basic human rights as per the Geneva Accords and to pressure the Hamas regime to allow a Red Cross delegation to visit Shalit wherever he may be.
In a related initiative, the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency are carrying out a similar Shalit solidarity campaign in Argentinian synagogues over the Jewish High Holidays. Worshippers at the South American nation's synagogues will receive prepared postcards with a call for the Red Cross to visit the Israeli captive as required under the Geneva Accords. After Yom Kippur, the signed cards will be collected and delivered to Red Cross representatives in Argentina.