Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Rav Yisroel Meir Lau last week sent a “Seder kit” to kidnapped soldier Gilad ben Aviva Shalit, who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for four and a half years.
The package, which includes matzos, wine and a Haggadah, was handed over to the head of the Red Cross delegation to Israel, Juan Pedro Schaerer.
Rav Lau, the former chief rabbi of Israel, told Kol Chai Radio that he had visited the Shalit family’s protest tent in Yerushalayim and was constantly looking for ways to “penetrate the wall of those holding onto Gilad.”
He expressed his hope that the package would reach its destination along with letters from the captive’s relatives, which have also been handed to the Red Cross. “Let’s see what Hamas’ response will be,” he said. “After all, they also claim to be men of religion, men of faith.
“We can’t guarantee success, but we guarantee action and we must try to break through any crack,” the rabbi added.
Rav Lau said he expected Hamas to send back a letter from Gilad. “It’s much more important, because it will be another sign of life, close to two years after the videotape they delivered.”
Addressing his meetings with Shalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva, he said that “apart from giving them hope, there was nothing else to say.” He stressed, however, that this was hope and not an illusion, as “such things are sometimes done instantly.”
Israel is not to blame for the apparent stalemate in the negotiations aimed at securing the kidnapped soldier’s release, Rabbi Lau said. “I’m pointing a finger at the entire world, the UN, the Red Cross. Those holding Gilad against the Geneva Convention and all the other human rights laws are walking around as free men, and are even hosted by presidents and kings and prime ministers who are members of the United Nations…
“They are responsible and all arrows should be directed at them, because I have no doubt that the Israeli government and those in charge of the security forces are doing all they can to release Gilad.”
Rav Lau refused to voice his stance on the disagreement over the release of terrorists for the kidnapped soldier. “The facts must be studied… It’s not so simple, it’s not point blank,” he said.