Schalit protest tent in J'lem defaced by vandals

Life-sized cardboard figure of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schlalit stolen; surrounding signs damaged, torn; family condemns vandalism.

Schalit tent vandalism 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Schalit tent vandalism 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
An art installation in the form of a wooden structure at the Gilad Schalit protest tent in Jerusalem was vandalized late Thursday night, with several signs and a cardboard cutout of the kidnapped soldier stolen.
“At first, we thought it was the wind – until we saw that the cutout was gone,” said Ohad Kaner, a longtime volunteer with the Schalit campaign who was the first to discover the vandalism when he arrived at 7 a.m. on Friday morning.
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The wooden structure, a mock succa constructed around the time of Succot, depicted a life-size cutout of Gilad behind bars and chicken wire.
“It’s nice that people in our community would go to the trouble of making something like this,” said Kaner, “and it’s really a shame that someone could do what they did.” The protest tent is covered with art projects and paintings by people around the world.
Noam Schalit questioned how the vandalism could have taken place “under the nose of the guards” at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
“We’re obviously disgusted by this cowardly act,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
“It seems there are people around who don’t want us sitting in this protest tent in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence. But of course we’re going to continue sitting here and go on with our activities in the protest tent until we can go back home together with Gilad.”
The family has sat in the protest tent since the summer, after completing a week-and-a-half long protest march from their home in Mitzpe Hila in the north to the Prime Minister’s Residence. They were joined by thousands of supporters.
The tent has been in place for years. Before the family’s arrival, hundreds of volunteers took turns manning it every day.
By Friday evening, the succa/jail had been reconstructed with a new cardboard cutout of the soldier. Jerusalem police opened an investigation into the vandalism.