Boat around New York's Statue of Liberty
Boat around New York's Statue of LibertyIsrael news photo: Sighteseeing World

Pro-Israel supporters are turning the anti-Israel flotilla fad into a positive effort to sail in a rally for the freedom of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. This Thursday will mark four years since Hamas and allied terrorists kidnapped him at an Israeli checkpoint near Gaza.

The “True Freedom” flotilla of covered boats will sail, rain or shine, at noon Thursday from Manhattan’s Pier 40. At least four boats will sail, including two of them capable of accommodating 500 people each, according to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is sponsoring the event.

The organization told Israel National News that Conference director Malcolm Hoenlein came up with the idea of the flotilla, which has been a favorite gimmick the past year by pro-Hamas supporters trying to end Israel’s anti-terrorist maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The boats will sail pass the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations before returning to Pier 40 around 2 p.m. EDT.

The flotilla’s is "to remind the international body and the world of the real siege in Gaza and call for the release of Gilad Shalit,” the Conference stated.

He remains held in total isolation with no access to the International Red Cross or other humanitarian bodies, contrary to the Geneva Convention.  Since his capture, Hamas has provided only two indications that Gilad is still alive – a recorded message of his voice released two years ago and a video of him released last October.

Hamas has refused Israeli offers to free up to 1,000 terrorists and prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

Supporters will be able to gather on the East River Esplanade to view and encourage the flotilla, whose passengers are invited guests and journalists. The entrance is on the east side of First Avenue at 34th, 35th or 37th Streets.