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One Family, Mutual Responsibility

May 1948


The State of Israel is born. A young couple, Yael and Zvi Shalit, is getting married. They choose to build their home and raise their family in Israel. The choice was not obvious as they met in Europe while Zvi was an officer in the British Army. They make this decision in order to connect the destiny of their family with the destiny of the Jewish State.


June 1954


Yael and Zvi have twin boys. They name them Yoel and Noam. The family lives in Kiryat Ata, near Haifa, and takes part in the building and securing of the newly born State of Israel.


June 1967


The Six-Day War has just ended. The following advertisement is published in a leading Israeli newspaper:


Our sons Yoel and Noam reached the age of Bar Mitzvah. The Torah reading is on Shabbat, portion of the week is “Korach,” 23rd of Sivan, July 1st 1967.

At the Jeshurun synagogue in Kiryat Ata.

Instead of a Bar Mitzvah celebration we have decided to give a donation to

the Israeli security forces.

Yael and Zvi Shalit


October 1973


The second day of the Yom Kippur War on the Golan Heights. Corporal Yoel Shalit is captured by the Syrian Army and brutally murdered the next day. Lieutenant Zvikah Greengold, better known as “Zvikah Force,” is fighting in the same battle and sees his body. The father, Zvi, doesn’t hear anything from one of his soldier sons and drives his car up to the Golan Heights to look for him. Only after the war ends is he officially notified of his loss.


August 1986


The youngest son of the surviving twin, Noam, and his wife, Aviva, is born. He is named Gilad (happy forever). Only a few years before, Noam named his first son Yoel, after his late brother. When they turn 18, both Yoel and Gilad Shalit choose to join the Israel Defense Forces in commemoration of their late Uncle Yoel.


June 2006


Corporal Gilad Shalit (age 20) is captured by Hamas terrorists on the Gaza border and held in isolation against all humanistic standards.  


March 2011


It is now almost five painful years since Gilad was captured. The “Israel Center Experience” (ICE) delegation from United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ joins the Shalit family and many others in a solidarity Kabbalat Shabbat at the Shalit’s protest tent in front of the Prime Minister ‘s residence. Sandy Hollander and David Dranikoff speak passionately on behalf of the group about the values of Jewish peoplehood, solidarity, and mutual responsibility.


April 2011


Zvi, the grandfather of Gilad and father of Yoel (z’l), meets once again with Prime Minister Netanyahu and tells him the family story. He begs the Israeli government to make every effort to bring Gilad back home before it is too late for him. He is talking about the Jewish mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim (redeeming the captives), which comes from the same concept of Arvut Hadadit (mutual responsibility).


May 2011


The traditional lighting ceremony of 12 torches on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. A national, traditional ritual that symbolizes the transition between Yom Hazikaron (the Memorial Day for fallen soldiers) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s independence day). This year the theme is Arvut Hadadit. During the ceremony, in an act of protest, Yoel Shalit raises a sign that reads: “My father is a bereaved brother. I don’t want to become the same.”




Gilad Shalit is back home, safe and sound, reunited with his family and his people. Amen.



Drishat Shalom









If you would like to send a message of support to Gilad Shalit, e-mail


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