These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Five Minutes for Shalit

Posted on March 15, 2011 by Pious Antic

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Living in Israel, it’s impossible to escape the national preoccupation with the plight of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was abducted by Hamas in 2006, and continues to be held hostage today.

Today, advocates for Shalit’s release called for people all over Israel to come outside at exactly eleven o’clock and block traffic for 5 minutes to demonstrate support for his immediate release. I didn’t hear anything about it until about 10:30 this morning, when someone in my Talmud class asked if we were going to participate as a class. We went outside at eleven, and found a gathering crowd of people tentatively easing their way into traffic. It wasn’t long before one car and then another pulled over to help obstruct traffic a little more. With each new stopped car, the crowd of pedestrians would applaud. At one point a big Coca-Cola delivery truck stopped in the middle of an intersections to really gum things up. Amazingly, through all this, I saw no expression of anger or frustration more serious than a grimace.

And then, just as things were getting really snarled, on no signal that I could discern, everyone left the road and started strolling back to their offices and shops. One woman cheered, in Hebrew “Good job, Ministry of Health!”, as she and her coworkers left their positions in the middle of the road to return to their government desk jobs.

In a week of difficult news regionally and globally, it was heartening to see people being so positive, even as they tried to call attention to such an upsetting issue.