Hundreds at Kosel for Tefillah Gathering to Mark Gilad Shalit’s 23rd Birthday


0_61_shalit_giladThe youth movement Habonim Dror, a driving force behind the popular campaign for Gilad Shalit’s return, organized a global tefillah gathering today for the captured IDF soldier’s safe return. The mass gathering focused on a communal atzeres tefillah at the Kosel this evening that was timed to coincide with Gilad’s 23rd Hebrew birthday. Noam and Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s parents, as well as hundreds of others, were present at the gathering.

Habonim joined forces with Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Rav Yisroel Meir Lau to organize the ceremony, and released a statement which read, “We are calling on all Jews – one people, one heart – to pray on behalf of our brother Gilad’s well being and for his safe return.”

Rav Lau penned a special tefillah for the gathering, which begins “May he who blessed our forefathers, Avrohom, Yitzchok, Yaakov, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, Dovid and Shlomo bless and guard over and save Gilad son of Aviva and Noam Schalit.”

The tefillah also beseeches Hakadosh Boruch Hu to “redeem [Gilad ] from his captivity and return him in the immediate future.”

The event took place amid a flood of rumors in the Arab media that a deal for the prisoner’s release was nearing, despite the lack of official statements from either Israel or Hamas.

{Yair Israel/JPost}