Hundreds Rally for Israeli Soldier's Release - NBC 7 San Diego

Hundreds Rally for Israeli Soldier's Release



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    Nearly 300 people rallied Sunday at one of the largest synagogues in San Diego to demand the release of a captured Israeli soldier.

    Jewish community leaders spoke to attendants of the Congregation Adat Yshurun about how 23-year old Gilad Shalit was captured more than four years ago in a raid by Palestinian militants.

    The rally coincided with others around the country and the world in hopes of raising awareness about Shalit's imprisonment.

    "We hope to raise awareness in hopes that international public opinion will influence Hamas and possibly lead to his release," said Michael Lurie of the San Diego Israel Coalition.

    Norman Smith of the Friends of Israel Defense Force in San Diego said the man's long imprisonment is traumatic for most Israeli's since military service is mandatory in Israel.

    Since his capture, the Palestinian Authority's ruling party Hamas has not allowed Shalit to communicate with his parents or with the International Red Cross which is against international law.

    "Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family," said a statement by Human Rights Watch, which attendants at the rally say rarely takes Israel's side.

    Reports have said that Hamas has refused visits from the International Red Cross for fear of an attempt to rescue the soldier.

    There has been no proof that Shalit is still alive since September of 2009.