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Presidents Conf. launches Shalit campaign

(JTA) — A leading American Jewish umbrella group has started a national campaign in support of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday launched the website www.giladgreetings.org to allow people around the world to send birthday and High Holidays greetings for Shalit.

The soldier, 24, captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006 and reportedly being held by Hamas in Gaza, on Saturday marked his fifth birthday in captivity.

Greetings can be submitted through the website or by mail to the Presidents Conference, which will deliver the greetings to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Red Cross has been denied the right to visit Shalit. 

The site was designed to support and encourage efforts by the Red Cross to press Hamas to allow its representatives to visit Shalit, in compliance with international law. Shalit has been held in isolation since he was captured.

Printed greetings can be sent to Shalit in care of the Conference of Presidents, 633 Third Ave., 21st Floor, New York, NY 10017.  Cards also may be dropped off in specially designated mailboxes at participating JCCs throughout the United States, or at various Magen David Adom locations in Israel.

The campaign also includes advertisements to be shown four times per hour daily through Sept. 5 on the high-definition digital billboard on the W Hotel at 47th Street in Times Square.

"As we approach Rosh Hashanah, let us remember our responsibility to raise our voices and do everything possible to gain Gilad’s freedom, and to offer strength to his family until they are reunited with their son and brother," Presidents Conference Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement.

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