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Thursday 6 December 2007

Three Candles for Three Soldiers - Rabbi Dr. Bayfield

Three Candles for Three Soldiers
Written by Rabbi Dr. Tony Bayfield

As you may know, I recently returned from Israel where I spent 6 days
along with our treasurer, Stephen Moss, and our chair, Mike Grabiner.

Whilst we were there, we spent some time with Noam Schalit whose son,
Corporal Gilad Schalit, was kidnapped on 25 June 2006 and is still being
held captive in Gaza. The Schalits are deeply distressed that no
progress is being made on the release of their son. Noam said that he
felt abandoned by the Israeli government. He emphasised that he wants
action - just being remembered is not enough.
But what can we do?
Since my return, I have followed up with both the Israel Embassy in
London and the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv - telling them what we had
heard from Noam Schalit and asking what they could do to help. The
Israel Embassy here were clear that Gilad is still alive, though
suffering badly from untreated asthma. Tom Philips, the British
Ambassador in Tel Aviv phoned the Schalits personally. I also contacted
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was about to travel to
Israel for a meeting with the orthodox Chief Rabbis. The Archbishop
immediately wrote to the Schalits, reiterating his concern for their
son, for the parents and for the whole family. I will also be meeting
with the new Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosser, this week and
will raise the issue with him.

Remembering this Chanukah

I would like to suggest that we can show our support this Chanukah by
remembering Gilad and the other captured Israeli soldiers - Ehud
Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Please consider dedicating the three candles you light on the third
night of Chanukah to the three captive soldiers.

I would also urge you to write to or email Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East
Editor for the BBC asking that the BBC take up the campaign for the 3
captured soldiers with the same level of vigour and concern they showed
when Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza earlier this year. Jeremy
Bowen's email address is
I will be letting Noam Schalit know about our campaign. Remembering
alone is not enough, but we need your help to make the Schalit family
feel and know that they have not been abandoned either by the government
of Israel or by the Jewish people.
Please pass this information on to other members of your community.
May the lights of Chanukah burn brightly and defiantly


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