Israeli Soldier's Parents Hold Vigil for Son's Return

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Five years have passed since Hamas terrorists crossed into Israel and killed two Israeli soldiers and abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. 
        
Noam and Aviva Shalit hope to use the fifth anniversary of their son's abduction as a rallying point to bring Gilad home.

"Most of all, we need people to put pressure on the decision makers," Noam Shalit said.

Gilad's parents keep a vigil in a tent, located just around the corner from the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem. The tent has been here for nearly three years, and on a daily basis Israelis visit to encourage the family.

This week, three representatives from the U.S. Congress and dozens of parliamentarians from around the world showed their support for the effort to bring the young soldier home.

"There are 55 of us here right now, that we bring this up in our own capitals with our own governments. Some of us have passed resolutions," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., said. 

Hamas keeps Gilad confined with no communication in or out. The last his family heard of him came nearly two years ago in a short video sent to Israeli officials.

On June 23, the International Committee of the Red Cross demanded that Hamas provide proof that Shalit is alive - a request that's been denied.

"Not even to allow the International Red Cross or any other non-partisan humanitarian group to come in and talk to him, just is an insult to everybody.

"This is illegal. It's intolerable. It's wrong. It's inhumane, and he must be released," Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli government is working hard to bring Gilad home safely.

Hamas, however, wants some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners - mostly convicted terrorists - released in exchange for the Israeli soldier.

Gilad's father simply wants his son home.

"We expect the Israel government will release the required prisoners and then we'll handle terror," Noam Shalit said.

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