They decided that the best way to show their solidarity was by doing time in solitary.
Beginning last Saturday evening at 8:00 PM and lasting for 24 hours, various high-profile Israelis took turns sitting in a dark, depressing mock prison cell reflecting the conditions in which Gilad Shalit is likely living in captivity. The cramped closet-like set was located at the Herzliya Studios (Israel’s largest studio facility), and the celebrities’ hour-long turns in it were broadcast live over the internet.
This “Al tiplu bashevi ha’adishut” (“don’t fall captive to indifference”) campaign took place on the fifth anniversary of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit’s capture by Hamas in a cross-border raid near Gaza. Shalit has been held without access this whole time to visits from the International Red Cross and other human rights organizations or communication from his family.
Among the celebrities and famous artists and sports figures who sat in the makeshift cell were actors Gila Almagor, Oz Zehavi and Yael Bar-Zohar, writer Meir Shalev, and former POW Chezi Shay. The participation of former Mossad chief Danny Yatom, former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, and former Shin Bet head Carmi Gilon made a strong statement.
Many of the pretend captives were visibly shaken by the experience of sitting in the eerie, claustrophobic cell while thinking about Gilad Shalit. The high-resolution camera picked up every facial expression, and the sensitive sound equipment conveyed every sigh, bit of nervous breathing and choked sob. Some spoke to Shalit, his family, the government, or the nation. Others just stared straight ahead, too emotionally overcome to say anything.