Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pope Benedict expresses personal interest in the release of Gilad Shalit

Gilad Shalit (Hebrew: גלעד שליט‎, born 28 August 1986) is an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped on 25 June, 2006 by Palestinian militants in a cross border raid from the Gaza Strip on the crossing Kerem Shalom (in Israel) and has been held hostage by Hamas since.

He became the first Israeli soldier captured[8] by militant Palestinian forces since Nachshon Wachsman in 1994.

This past Monday, the parents and grandparents of Gilad Shalit met with Pope Benedict XVI in the residence of President Shimon Peres, pleading that the pontiff use his influence in securing his release.

Pope Benedict XVI (3R) and Israeli President Shimon Peres (2R) meets the parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Noam Shalit (2L) and Aviva Shalit (L), durinig a visit at the Presidential Residence May 11, 2009 in Jerusalem, Israel. Source: Getty Images

According to YNet News, During the brief meeting the pope expressed interest in the soldier's life story and said he would do his best to help:

Gilad's parents, Aviva and Noam, presented Benedict with an Italian translation of a children's book that was written by their son when he was only 11-years-old, entitled “When the Fish and the Shark First Met”.

"I ask that his holiness exert his influence in order to bring our son back to us," Noam Shalit told the pope. "No one has had any access to him (Gilad) for the past three years, and it's been a year since we received the last sign of life from him. We would appreciate it if you would, first and foremost, help us get a sign of life from him."

The Vatican has been aware of the plight of Gilad Shalit for some time -- In 2006, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Franco told The Jerusalem Post that the Vatican will do its best to ensure that abducted soldier Gilad Shalit is returned to Israel.


No comments:

Post a Comment