YU STUDENT LEADER OF ISRAEL CLUB
...this is run in conjunction with the Israeli Consoluate. We are joining together at the time of Rosh HaShana, doing teshuva (repentance), returning to ourselves, implementing our loving relationship with God, the postive way that things should be. We are gathered here tonight to hear from people who yearn, not just for the return of soldiers, but brothers, husbands, sons.
DR. VIKTOR SCHWARTZ, Dean at YU
Thanks...this is an extraordinary program...the Israeli Committee has been working nonstop to be here. President Joel wanted very much to be here but had a prior engagement. He asked me to say a few words for him (he reads from a paper)
We are approaching Rosh HaShanah, yom hadin (the day of judgement)...Eihud Goldwasser to our community- all of us stand together in demanding the return of Eihud, Eldad and Gilad Shalit. We stand united for them to be released from captivity to freedom.
The UN General Assembly has opened, the world has ____, Muslim and Western World are at odds with each other. We want to remind the world and the UN of how this ordeal began...kidnappings. While things are thankfully quieter in Israel the situation is hardly resolved. Goldwasser, Regel and Shalit are still captives.
ISRAELI CONSULATE MAN
Tahnk you very much- thank you for coming out here- friends of the conslulate; when I called President Joel, I called knowing what the answer would be. We are approaching the Yamim Noraim (the High Holidays) and are already in the midst of Slichos and thoughts of teshuva (repentance.) Teshuva means to return, shav, shuv, the root of the word is to return, to come home. And we want to bring home, to return the captives, in as speedy possible a way, to unite the families once again, to correct a situation that needs immediate correction.
Goldwassers are here representing the Shalits and Regevs who are just arriving now and will be here tomorrow. We need to keep this on the front pages, on the political agenda; we need to keep this relevant until they (the soldiers) come home.
It is a privilege to be with these people (talking about the Goldwassers...) they are tremendous sources of strength, and will keep on going as long as they need to. We stand here today to show that we are one large united Jewish family- Eihud or Udi, when they are not with them, when he or Eldad or Gilad are not with them, they are not with us either, and we too feel their loss.
We have come here to hear from Karnit (Udi's wife) Shlomo (his father) and Mickey (or Nicky? I couldn't hear.)
I am Karnit, Udi's wife- here's Udi's father, and Udi's mother.
We came here to tell the story of Udi, Eldad and Gilad.
Udi and Gilad were kidnapped July 12th. On that day, Udi and me where in Israel. His parents were in _____. It was his last day in the reserves, a few hours before coming back home, he was packing his things, going to be back home- and then July, he was kidnapped.
There is a procedure when he comes back from the army- I cook for him his best food; the army's good, but the food is not so good (laughter). The day before we were discussing what I was going to make him for lunch.
So I was in the kitchen, preparing, this is what I did that morning- I turn on the radio, hear something bad happened near Zarit (did I hear wrong?) and I know his base is in Zarit. So I text him, I send him an SMS message and he doesn't answer. I start to call him and I start to be worried- at that time, we now know, he was already in Lebanon.
So all my friends are calling to find out whether I have heard from him, and I have not, so the geographically closest friend came over to stay with me.
It was at 3:30 that afternoon that officers came to announce Udi's missing. They said that 7 soldiers had been killed and 2 soldiers had been kidnapped.
We didn't know which one, till 11 PM- we were thinking maybe he's dead, maybe not- in my mind I thought he was dead, but my heart said he was not dead.
They told us at 11 PM that the last soldier was identified, and we see that Udi's not dead, just kidnapped. It was not joy but a kind of joy, a unique joy to know that Udi's just kidnapped- we can do things, we have the power to do things.
-So we made a phonecall. We called the Regev family- told them we're not going to sit, we're going to do soemthing, bring them back. And we called the Shalits, told them the same thing- he had been kidnapped 3 weeks earlier.
We became one big family.
We need your help- tomorrow there will be a big rally, we need your help to strengthen us; it is written on the UN resolution that they should be released.
All 3 of them celebrated their birthdays in captivity.
Gilad- August 16, he turned 26
Udi, July 18, 31 years old
(listed the other soldier as well)
My first anniversary is October 14. I want to celebrate it with my husband, both physically and emotionally. I got married 11 months ago. I have him in my veins; he is my soulmate. He is missing, but not in my mind.
Every night I write him a letter because I want to remember what I did each day to help him. Tongith I will write him what I did today- about you.
We heard rumors that they're injured, in which case this is not just "pidyon sh'vuyim" (rescuing captives) but saving lives.
This is about life. About family. I had a life. But now- every since July 12- I have not had a life. I do not count the days. They do not matter to me. I only want to see my soulmate, the love of my life again. I want to get back the love of my life.
For us, for our family- it is not going to be a happy Rosh Hashana. To be honest, I don't really care if I'm going to celebrate it, because he's not here.
I want to have children with my soulmate, with the love of my life.
I once promised I would bring him the moon. I want him to be back and to sit with me on a bench, and we will watch the moon, and will watch our children- I want to have children with him-to sit on a bench and to see that.
SHLOMO, UDI'S FATHER, SPEAKS
Karnit is very good in this and not in this only.
Udi was kidnapped. Udi and Eldad were kidnapped 68 days ago. Since then we had nothing of them.
The government declared war against those who kidnapped them, aiming to bring them back but we all know in Israel, especially in the northern part of Israel, we know that this war, the reasons fo rthis war, are not only to bring them back.
Exposed to intimidation of Hizbollah already 6 years, since we pulled out..there have been small intimidations, here and there...Israel relying on fulfilling the agreements, agreed in 2000 to pull out of Lebanon.
I remember other wars- I was participating in the 6 Days War- that war finished with a bang with a bomb, we called it, and since then lots of time passed and there's nothing like this anymore.
A couple days after the war our commander, (he pronounced it Gora-dEE-scho; I'm ashamed to say I have no idea who that is) said that this is the last war of Israel and his son won't go anymore to the army. One and a half years later there was another war.
Udi and Eldad were kidnapped 6 years after being pulled out of Lebanon. In those 6 years, Hizbollah armed themselves up to their necks with Katyusha missiles, 15,000 missiles with the help of Iran and Syria. And anyone who travels the border sees it's not such an easy thing- (implies that it was a long time coming/ happening.)
While they armed themselves, the Israeli side developed bed and breakfast and developed the tourism-wishful...(sighs) everyone wants peace.
The President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says every now and then his goal is to finish Israel...we didn't believe him, after this war we see that his threat is true...after one or two years more, he could do it.
I'm not an expert, so I tell you what we are hearing in Israel from those coming back from the war. UN decided to put a buffer between Israel and Lebanon, a buffer without missiles- and we who live in the northern part of Israel are hoping it will succeed.
We are here now in New York to make sure 15 countries that participated and made resolution 17-01 will stand behind the resolution and see that not only Israel is fulfilling its responsibilities but that all the other countries fulfill.
Our sons were captured 68 days ago. They are mentioned in the resolution, paragraph 3, and are supposed to be released "unconditionally."
In the meantime Israel moved out, waived blockade on Beirut and fulfilling all its conditions.
We are here to raise our voice and hope someone will hear it.
Tomorrow there's going to be a big rally organized by Jewish community- one of our goals is to ____.
I hope that everyone will be there.
And I'm looking at you and I'm sure that you will be there.
ISRAELI CONSULATE MAN
Say just to reiterate the message of the rally...I know it's not just world leaders who hear you, or Jews, but also Gilad, Udi and Eldad.
GIRL: I saw you talked to Kofi Annan and he said he'd make every effort to bring them home. Was he in contact with the Italian Parliament person...?
SHLOMO (FATHER): Every effort and any effort, anyone whome we meet are singing...even our Prime Minister says we are doing anyting, everything, any effort, our real problem is that Nasrallah (and Hamas? I think he said Hamas) doesn't say it, if anyone knows how to make him say it, he will be blessed.
KARNIT: Secretary-General said he'd do anyting, and I believe it. Prime Minister said so. We want them to come back and bring back. There are two lives when you are captured- one life until someone comes to visit you and another from the moment someone comes to visit you. Udi will feel much better if someone will come to visit him.
DIFFERENT GIRL- She gave a beautiful speech which I can't possibly reproduce in which she indicated her deep, deep thanks to the Goldwassers- she said that they claim to thank us, when in truth we should be thanking them- it was very, very heartfelt.
KARNIT: In age, it doesn't matter who we speak to...We're coming to ask your help. You can say your words. This is the time to help us, to take the action, to say to the Red Cross, the United Nations, to say we the family, we the Jewish community are not alone...people should not just be kidnapped- this is the time to do the actions.
ANOTHER GIRL: Do you make a connection with family of soldiers kidnapped from before?
KARNIT: Yes, to soldiers from 2000 (she listed the family names) they came on their own when Udi was kidnapped...we met several people who had been kidnapped/ how it is to be in captivity, what they felt, what it was like which is what we now tell you.
SHLOMO: We met the pilot, the pilot who flew Karnit and her father here...he was also captured...in Syria...
KARNIT: There is a union called Irin Ba'Lailah (____ in the Night), a union of people who have been there, soldiers, reservitsts who've been there.
(someone asks about prisoner exchange)
Prisoner exchange...Chanan Tennenbaum was the last one but he wasn't a soldier, he was a businessman and before him was in the 80s...____Shai, reservist, married, his wife wasn't pregnant, 27 years old.
Thank you. (from SHLOMO and KARNIT)
YU STUDENT LEADER ISRAEL CLUB
...thanks to everyone, every student came to say we're with you (looks at Goldwassers) we're part of this.
SAID A TEFILLAH COMPOSED SPECIALLY FOR RELEASE OF THE SOLDIERS
STAR-SPANGLED BANNER (what was that about?)
YU STUDENT LEADER AGAIN
Thanks a lot to the people involved in this-
Olivia from the Israeli Consulate
Dr. Dean Schwartz
Mr. Benjamin...... (who just left the room)
Aviva Horowitz, all the other students
All the students who are here
Reminder about the rally- it's at 12:00 tomorrow, 2nd Ave and 42 Street
www.yuic.com is the YU Israel Club
And we're selling ties outside and collecting tzedaka for Israel from them