'62% would free terrorists for Schalit'

Poll 62% of Israelis ba

Schalit video  248.88 (photo credit: )
Schalit video 248.88
(photo credit: )
Nearly 90 percent of the Israeli public would like to take an active role in the campaign to release Gilad Schalit, according to a survey conducted by University of Haifa students. However, only 28% have actually taken action to bring about the release of Schalit, who has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza since June 2006. The survey, which polled 200 Israelis from different parts of the country, was a preparatory step for a final project in a course on political campaigns offered at the university. The students chose the release of Schalit as the topic of their final project, which involves the production of a short video about joining "Gilad's Army of Friends," an Internet campaign launched this past June dedicated to Schalit's release. The survey also found that 62% of Israelis support the release of convicted terrorists in order to free Schalit, while 16% oppose such a deal and 22% are undecided. Israelis are also skeptical that any deal will be reached in the near future, despite last week's flurry of reported negotiations: only 36.5% strongly believe that Schalit will be able to return home by the end of 2009. The survey found that only 20% of Israelis believe the government has done all it can to free Schalit, and that the main factor impeding his release is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The annual course requires students to get involved in a specific campaign, but course instructor Dr. Israel Waismel-Manor believes this year's students chose a unique path. "I'm very glad that the students have chosen to take what they are learning in the course and implement it for a worthy cause," Waismel-Manor said in a statement. "This will be the first time that I hope not to need the videos at all, and pray that we will be able to watch them for the first time with Gilad at our side."