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Meeting Shalit's Parents
A Montgomery County couple met last week with the parents of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was captured in a 2006 cross-border raid and has been held in Gaza by Hamas ever since.
While in Jerusalem, Bernard and Lana Dishler of Upper Gwynedd stopped by the tent the Shalit family has set up outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office as part of an effort to refocus global attention on Shalit's plight.
Bernard Dishler, who sits on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Center for Israel and Overseas -- and has held numerous communal leadership positions over the years -- said he and his wife had first met Noam and Aviva Shalit not long after their son was first abducted, and they wanted once again to convey their support.
Shalit's "mother is very depressed. We could hardly get a conversation going. The father, he was more willing to talk," Dishler said, adding that the couple doesn't seem to know more than the world at large about their son's status.
"I told him that we are trying to do everything we can to keep the issue alive," said Dishler.
The couple was in Israel to take part in a mission sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America that focused on Ethiopian Jewry.
Dishler noted that the group first visited Gondar, Ethiopia, and accompanied more than 100 new immigrants on the flight to their new home in Israel.
Dishler, who spent three days in the country, noted that roughly 8,000 Ethiopian Jews -- known as the Falash Mura -- still seek to make aliyah.
According to him, Israeli officials told the group that the process is expected to take about two years.