NY kids read Schalit's book on YouTube

Posted: 6/23/2008 8:25:00 PM
Author: Jerusalem Post Staff
Source: This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post online on June 23, 2008.

NY kids read Schalit's book on YouTube
by Jerusalem Post Staff

To mark two years since Cpl. Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, the Israeli Consulate in New York has posted a YouTube clip featuring five fifth-grade pupils reading an English translation of When the Shark and the Fish First Met, a story Schalit wrote when he was 11 that was published earlier this year.

The story describes an unlikely friendship that blossoms between a shark and a fish who meet one day in the ocean, and who have to overcome their mutual distrust, as well as that of their families, before they can swim together.

The three-minute video, uploaded yesterday, also includes footage of the book's colorful illustrations, each by a different Israeli artist. Schalit's mother, Aviva, found the story several months ago and decided to publish it as a children's book. All proceeds from sales are donated to the Habanim organization (www.habanim.org), a group founded to advocate for the return of Schalit as well as kidnapped reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

David Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs, and Yoram Morad, Cultural Attaché, initiated the YouTube project. "The goal is to make this humanitarian story a matter of public consciousness. A multiethnic selection of students reading this story of peace and reconciliation sends a powerful message that cannot be ignored," Saranga said.

One of the children who read Schalit's book said, "Gilad was a boy our age when he wrote this story; if only we could write something so significant at this age. Today, no one knows where he is and he probably misses his parents."

"If the shark and fish can make peace, why can't people?" he asked.

The clip can also be viewed at http://www.isrealli.org/shalit.

The consulate has also joined an initiative on the Facebook social networking site that asks members to use Schalit's image in place of their usual profile pictures on Wednesday, a date that will mark two years since he was abducted. Another way users can express solidarity with Schalit and his family on Facebook is by changing their status to read: "Waiting two years for Gilad Schalit."