Zubin Mehta conducts Israel concert for captive soldier

TEL AVIV- Music maestro Zubin Mehta will direct the Israel Philharmonic at a concert on Monday within rocket range of Gaza in support of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, held in the Hamas-ruled enclave for more than four years.
The free performance will take place before an estimated audience of some 10,000 people in a park near the southern town of Sderot, which lies about three kilometers (just over a mile) from the Gaza border, as a mark of solidarity with Shalit, who was snatched in June 2006.

Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
"It is a gesture for this young man and his family in order to tell the world that four years without a single visit is too long," Mehta, 74, told reporters in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
"We have an obligation to dream and we want Gilad Shalit, in the first instance, to receive Red Cross visits, and then to be freed as soon as possible," said the orchestra's Indian-born director.
Sderot has been repeatedly targeted by Gaza militants, who have fired more than 80 rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel this year, according to the Israeli military.
The event, which the organisers say will cost 100,000 dollars (80,000 euros) to stage, is being financed by private donors. It will be broadcast live on Israeli radio and television.
On June 25, Israel marked the fourth anniversary of Shalit's capture by militants from Hamas and two other groups.
His family last week began a 12-day march from their home in northern Israel to Jerusalem to ramp up pressure on the government to secure a deal for his release.

Sunday, July 4th 2010

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