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AZM plays active role in rally to free Gilad Shalit

Free Gilad Now!

AZM plays active role in rally to free Gilad Shalit

Contact: Deborah Fishman
Phone: 212-318-6100

At noon on July 10, crowds of people gathered in front of the Syrian Mission to the United Nations at 820 Second Avenue between 43rd and 44th St. Brandishing Israeli flags and red stop signs reading, “Stop the Terror,” the over 1,000 demonstrators were braving the intense summer heat in order to demand Corporal Gilad Shalit’s immediate and unconditional release. Yelling the slogan “Tell Assad, ‘Free Gilad!'” the protesters aimed to underscore Syrian culpability in Shalit’s June 25th kidnapping. The protest indicted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his protection of Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal and demanded an end to Syrian support of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

“We are here to say to the Syrians: ‘You are not immune’,” said New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, calling on the international community to put pressure on Syria and other countries which back terrorist organizations to end the terror and bring Shalit home safely. Shalit, who was described as a quiet and modest 19-year-old who enjoys math and physics, is currently held captive in the Gaza Strip.

The English, Russian and Hebrew-speaking crowd of all ages joined in song and prayer as speakers took the podium as diverse as Central Baptist Church Reverend Michael Faulkner, Vice President of Russian American Jews for Israel Leonard Petlakh and President of the New York Chinese Community Relations Council Fred Tang.

The message was one of solidarity with Israel, support for her right to self-defense and solace to Shalit’s parents Aviva and Noam and his two siblings.

“Israel does not negotiate with terrorists,” said New York City Council Member David Weprin. “Israel will never give in to terrorists and their threats. Throughout history we have never backed down. Today will be no exception.”

Planned by the Ad Hoc Coalition for Justice in partnership with the American Zionist Movement, the New York JCRC and the Conference of Presidents, the rally represented merely the New York division of an international Zionist effort taking place simultaneously in capital cities including Washington, DC, London, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Johannesburg and Buenos Aires.

To learn more about the AZM campaign to free Israel’s abducted soldiers, please visit the AZM web site. Further inquiries should be directed to Deborah Fishman at 212-318-6100 or e-mail

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