Shalit Family Steps Up Protest, to Camp Outside Cabinet Meetings

Dozens of visitors flock to protest tent set up by parents of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit across from prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.

Dozens of people continued to flock to a protest tent set up by Noam and Aviva Shalit, parents of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in Jerusalem on Saturday. The family set up the protest tent at the culmination of a 12-day protest march from their home in the Galilee to the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, and vowed to camp outside the weekly cabinet meetings until Gilad Shalit was free.

Shalit was captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006, and has been held by Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, for four years. Hamas have demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian soldiers held in Israel in exchange for the Israel Defense Forces soldier's freedom.

Among others, former minister Yossi Sarid visited the protest tent on Saturday, as well as athlete Yael Arad.

The head of the campaign to free Gilad Shalit Shimshon Liebman told Haaretz on Saturday that the family wished for the cabinet ministers to see them every week when they step into the weekly meeting at the Knesset. "The public supports us," he said. "They expect us to give more, and we will give more."

Earlier Saturday, a senior Hamas official said that "Gilad Shalit will not be released until Israel fulfills all of our demands." According to a report by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, the official said that Israel continually tries to gain intel on the location of the captive soldier via Palestinian collaborators, but that Shalit would never be found.