JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit spent his 25th birthday in captivity.
Sunday was the sixth birthday that Shalit has marked in captivity since he was captured by Hamas terrorists from Gaza in a cross-border raid in June 2006.
Shalit’s parents led a protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on Sunday urging him to work to free their son. Banners at the protest said, "We won’t let Gilad celebrate alone." Another banner called on Netanyahu to give Shalit "his life back" for his birthday.
In a letter to their son to mark his birthday, Noam and Aviva Shalit wrote:
"With the burning sun beating on our heads, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, we are trying to digest the fact that 1,890 days have passed and you still are not with us. …
"We’re here. We haven’t given up, we haven’t surrendered, and we have not been broken. And we are not alone. Our dearest Gilad, many many people who are strangers to you, who you have never met, think as we do, that it is inconceivable to speak of social solidarity, of national fortitude and of having faith in the State while abandoning you to your fate. Day after day, lonely and abandoned in Hamas dungeons for over half a decade."