Half a million call on Lula to help free Schalit

AMISRAEL organization demands that Brazil's president get directly involved in the efforts to release the captive soldier.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Over half a million signatures from Latin America have been garnered over the past two weeks, demanding the direct involvement of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the efforts to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
The AMISRAEL organization informed Schalit’s father, Noam, of the initiative at a press conference in Jerusalem last Thursday.
The group hopes to reach the million-mark within another two weeks. In addition, the Brazil-based non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting peace and support of Israel, presented resolutions passed by the parliaments of 15 Latin American states recognizing the violation of Schalit’s human rights and demanding his release.
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger noted the special significance of the mitzva of redeeming a prisoner, the most meaningful of the benevolent deeds between people, and the weight powerful states like Brazil could have on expediting Schalit’s release.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein evoked the powerful image of the Chilean miners’ rescue from their temporary underground captivity, who unlike Schalit had one another for support and consolation, and spent 69 days underground compared to Schalit’s 1,579, as of Thursday.
“People all around the world must follow AMISRAEL’s example and cry out the simple message – ‘Free Gilad!’” Edelstein said.
“It is moving to see how Gilad’s release has become a global issue,” Noam Schalit said, noting that the mechanism to rescue his son was here in Jerusalem, where decisionmakers must reach “brave decisions.”
“We believe that a true commitment to human rights requires a commitment to support peace and security for Israel, and in particular the immediate release of Gilad Schalit,” said Dr.
William Soto, international director and founder of AMISRAEL, who flew in from Brazil especially for the event.
“By gathering broad support from peoples of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, we also hope to show the people of Israel that they are not alone, and that there is a strong community rallying to support their rights.”