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Gilad Shalit is made Honorary Citizen of Baltimore

State of Maryland and Baltimore City Demand his Release


The Baltimore Zionist District convened a ceremony on Wednesday, June 29th  at City Hall in which Gilad Shalit was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Baltimore, and officials of both the State and the City denounced his continued captivity, and demanded his immediate release.  


The ceremony coincided with the fifth anniversary of the June 25, 2006 seizure of Gilad Shalit from Israeli territory by Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, who dragged him into Gaza, where he remains a hostage of Hamas to this day. For five painful years Gilad Shalit has been denied the most basic of human rights. He is denied any contact with the outside world, including requests from the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit and ascertain Shalit's conditions of detention and treatment. The only signs of life that have been received are two letters, an audio message and a video message, the last of which came in October 2009. Gilad Shalit is now 24 years old, having spent almost one fifth of his life in captivity.  

Honorary Citizen

(Left to right) Jay Bernstein Baltimore Zionist District Advocacy Chair, Galit Baram, Counselor for Public and Academic Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington, DC,  Izzy Patoka, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives, Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, City Council Members Rikki Spector, Mary Pat Clarke and Jim Kraft./


Representing the Baltimore City Council and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, City Council Member Rikki Spector read proclamations from the City Council and the Mayor naming Gilad Shalit an honorary citizen of Baltimore, protesting his prolonged and inhumane imprisonment, and calling for his immediate and safe return to his family. Council members Jim Kraft and Mary Pat Clarke accompanied Ms. Spector as she read these proclamations. The proclamations of the City Council and the Mayor make Baltimore one of the few cities which have made Gilad Shalit an honorary citizen, the others being Paris, Rome, Miami and New Orleans.  


On behalf of the Governor, Izzy Patoka, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives, read a statement by Governor Martin O'Malley denouncing the illegal and immoral detention of Gilad Shalit, and demanding his unconditional release. The Governor stated that the hearts and prayers of Marylanders remain with Gilad's family, and stressed Maryland's "steadfast, unwavering commitment to Israel's safety, sovereignty, and security." Delegate Sandy Rosenberg affirmed his support for the Governor's statement, and stressed the important role of the proclamations issued by the Governor, the Mayor and the City Council in maintaining public awareness of Gilad's plight.  


Galit Baram, Counselor for Public and Academic Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington, DC, attended the ceremony on behalf of the State of Israel. Ms. Baram gratefully accepted the proclamations of the Governor and Mayor, and expressed Israel's appreciation for all of their efforts on behalf of Gilad Shalit. The event concluded with BZD thanking all of the public officials who participated in the ceremony, and with the hope and prayer that City Hall will soon host a ceremony celebrating the release of Baltimore's honorary citizen, Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit is made Honorary Citizen of Baltimore

Watch the video 


ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 24, 2011) - As the Jewish Sabbath approaches this year on the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit being taken prisoner by Hamas, Governor Martin O'Malley today issued the following statement:

"For five years, the murderous terrorist organization Hamas has illegally - and immorally - held Gilad Shalit, without even the basic human decency of providing access to the Red Cross.

"Today, as Marylanders, as Americans, and as part of the larger human family, we echo the G8's demand for his unconditional release.

"Since the days when the Exodus set sail from Maryland's waters, the people of Maryland and the people of Israel have shared a special relationship.

"Our hearts and prayers remain with Gilad's family as they continue to pray for his release - and our feet remain planted, as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Israeli people in support of their right as a sovereign nation to defend themselves from acts of terror and aggression.

"As President Kennedy said, Israel 'carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.' Israel's national security is America's national security, and terrorists like Hamas pose a threat not only to Israel, but to free peoples everywhere. We must continue our steadfast, unwavering commitment to Israel's safety, sovereignty, and security."



US Senators warn of aid cutoff if PA goes to UN

The US Senate passed a resolution late Tuesday threatening to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority should it seek a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN.
The non-binding resolution, sponsored by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of M
Ben Cardinaryland and co-sponsored by 88 of the body's 99 other senators, passed by unanimous accord. The measure declares that the Senate "will consider restrictions on aid to the Palestinian Authority should it persist in efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies. The Senate has delivered a clear message to the international community that United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this time does not further the peace process," Cardin said in a statement. "A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations." Maine Republican Susan Collins, who joined Cardin in sponsoring the resolution, warned that "any effort to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations will have serious consequences for future US aid to the Palestinians."  

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Please write a letter to our Maryland and Baltimore elected officials thanking for their leadership, support and friendship.

Senator Benjamin Cardin

Constitution Avenue and 2nd Street, NE
HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building - Room 509
Washington, DC 20510-2004


Governor Martin O'Malley

100 State Circle

State House

Annapolis, MD 21401-1925


Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

City Hall, Room 250

100 N. Holliday Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21202


Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young
[email protected]


Rikki Spector

[email protected]