Birthday focus on Gilad Shalit

British Jewry joined international efforts to highlight the plight of Gilad Shalit as the Israeli soldier's family marked his sixth birthday since his capture by Hamas.

Sergeant Shalit turned 25 on Sunday and the Board of Deputies wrote to other religious groups urging them to support efforts to secure his freedom.

It also encouraged community members to join the "Faces for Gilad" publicity and awareness campaign. This asks "anyone who believes in freedom and justice to photograph themselves holding a sign calling for Gilad's freedom".

Elsewhere, supporters used social media to tweet messages of support and awareness. On Facebook, a group started by British Jew Elliot Jebreel attracted nearly 1,500 supporters.

Mr Jebreel posted campaign information, adding: "For the sake of his family, let's do all we can to bring him home."

In Israel, Sergeant Shalit's parents released an open letter to their son on his birthday.

    Last updated: 1:46pm, September 1 2011