30 Mothers Hold Rally for Gilad Shalit at Erez Crossing

Mother of IDF soldier: We could all find ourselves in the same situation that the captive soldier's parents are in.

A group of some 30 mothers of past or current Israel Defense Forces soldiers gathered at the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Friday, calling for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was abducted two years ago in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants, and has since remained in captivity in the Gaza Strip.

The demonstration dispersed when two mortar shells, fired from the Strip, exploded within Israeli territory in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council.

The mothers, carrying yellow ribbons, embarked in a procession from Kidron toward the Erez crossing where they staged a demonstration.

One of the mothers, a resident of Kidron, said in an interview to Army Radio: "We think that this is a window of opportunity and we must take advantage of it. We came here because it was the closest spot to Gilad. Gilad is here behind [the barrier]. We could all find ourselves in the same situation his mother and father are currently in, that's why we're here."

One of the architects of the event, Israela Shidalov, whose son finished his army service three months ago after having fought in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, said that the mothers would hold weekly demonstrations at the border crossing and nearby intersections. Their aim, she said, is to raise public awareness to the issue of captive soldiers.

"We will continue to demonstrate until Gilad comes back. Our slogan is 'let the sun shine on Gilad' and the yellow ribbons symbolize the sun and the light that we want to wash over Gilad," Shidalov added.

Shidalov went on to say that she and her friends spoke about the issue of the missing and captive soldiers and decided that they must do something about it. "I was sitting with my friend Maddie Cohen, and we were drinking coffee when we heard a statement that made us angry in regard to the captive soldiers. At that point we decided to take action. We called our friends and started to develop the idea. I spread by word of mouth until several dozen mothers had enlisted to the cause. For each one of us, Gilad is a son," she said.

"We won't scream or yell. We will stand quietly by Gilad," she concluded.