CBNNews.com - HERZLIYA, Israel - Family and friends of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit marked his third Hanukkah in captivity Tuesday evening.
In a ceremony at Herzliya's Interdisciplinary Center Student Union, students rallied behind Shalit's family in an evening featuring a musical and the traditional candle lighting ceremony during Hanukkah.
"This support, especially from young people, is very important to us," Gilad's father, Noam, told participants.
"It helps us raise awareness about Gilad," he said.
"Unfortunately, there is a big gap between public support and the support and action of the Israeli government, and the result is that for two-and-a-half years and three Hanukkahs, Gilad has not been with us, but [instead he's] in gloom and darkness," he said.
Shalit said he hoped that the government would include his son's release in any extended cease-fire agreement with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
In the first truce, which ended last Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak initially said there would be no cease-fire without Shalit's release.
He later reneged when Hamas refused to include Shalit's release as part of the Egyptian-brokered agreement.
"Hamas got what it wanted, and Gilad stayed in captivity," his father said.
"I hope that won't happen this time, and the decision-makers will ensure that Gilad's release is part of the deal for a renewed truce," he said.
Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post