On Thursday evening the lights of the Colosseum in Rome will be turned off in solidarity with kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit. Noam Schalit, Gilad's father, will be in attendance along with the Roman citizens and the representatives of local and national Italian institutions.
According to organizers, the gathering is meant to send a message to the world: "Free Gilad now". Speeches will be given by Noam Schalit and the mayor of Rome, and pictures of Gilad will be screened. At 11 pm (midnight in Israel) the lights of the Colosseum will be turned off.
"We immediately launched the campaign for Shalit because we feel the burden of anxiety”, the President of the Jewish Community of Rome, Riccardo Pacifici, says.
Last summer Rome's Mayor Gianni Alemanno bestowed honorary citizenship on Gilad. The City of Rome has strongly supported the initiative in the Colosseum. Other cities in Italy have joined, and some of the municipalities will turn off the lights at some of their monuments.
"We want to sensitize public opinion and strongly assert our values, which belong to civil society as a whole, first of all the value of freedom. This event is first and foremost an expression of our strong support of the State of Israel,” Pacifici said.