In an unprecedented meeting, delegates of the Jewish community in Britain and British parliamentarians met with the Syrian ambassador in London after staging a demonstration outside the Syrian embassy for the release of a kidnapped Israeli soldier.
Ambassador Sami Khigami surprised the demonstrators by inviting representatives to meet with him. The demonstrators demanded that the ambassador have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad press Khaled Mashaal, the Hamas leader in Damascus, to release the soldier.
Chairperson of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain Estelle Gilston and Jewish parliamentarian Louise Ellman met with the ambassador for about 15 minutes. They said Khigami was very polite and courteous and promised to pass along their message to Damascus.
The demonstrators also called on Syria to stop financing terror and to show its goodwill by using its influence to help return Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped soldier. Khigami said that he is aware of the concern for the soldier, but urged the demonstrators to consider the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Protests occurred at Syrian embassies around the world, including New York City where more than 1,000 people showed their solidarity with Israel.