Jewish students to pressure for Shalit’s release

Protesting in Tel Aviv for Shalit's release. Lilach Daniel photo

Stars for Israel, a group of Jewish students and young adults, plans to demonstrate support for the release of Gilad Shalit as the five-year anniversary of his captivity approaches.

Shalit, then only 19-years-old, was kidnapped in a cross-boarder raid by Hamas terrorists on June 25, 2006, and has been held hostage in isolation and in total violation of all international standards ever since. Shalit is now age 24.

To remind the world of Shalit’s plight – and to call attention to the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross has yet to visit Shalit – the Stars for Israel volunteers will cut out and mail red-colored paper Stars of David to the ICRC. Each star will be personalized with a hand-written message asking the ICRC and the world community to work harder for Shalit’s release.

Jewish schools, summer camps and individual students are encouraged to send their own handmade Stars for Israel to the ICRC. The group’s goal is to have all Stars arrive at the ICRC’s Washington offices no later than Saturday, June 25, 2011.

Complete information on how to cut out these stars and where to mail them is publicly available online at and at

During his nearly five years as a prisoner in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Shalit has never been paid a visit by the ICRC, even though the Red Cross is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to visit prisoners of war and civilian internees to verify whether they are being treated humanely.

While the ICRC has been prevented from upholding its responsibilities by Shalit’s Hamas captors, Stars for Israel believes the ICRC can and should do more to rally international support to help fulfill its mandate.

Organizers of the Stars for Israel mail protest have already been individually mailing red Stars of David to the ICRC on behalf of Shalit for months. Their intent now is to increase the pressure on the ICRC by flooding the agency with the hand-cut reminders.

First woman major general named in Israel

Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivay. IDF photo

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved a series of high-ranking appointments made by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

Maj. Gen. Yair Golan will be appointed GOC Northern Command, replacing Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot who will continue his service in a position which will be agreed upon shortly.

Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg will be promoted to the rank of major general and will be appointed GOC Home Front Command.

Brig. Gen. Orna Barbivay will be promoted to the rank of major general and appointed Head of the Personnel Directorate, replacing Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir, who will end his service in the IDF. She becomes the first woman to attain the rank of major general in the IDF.