A senior Hamas official looks set to fly to Cairo shortly to approve a deal that includes the release of Gilad Shalit.
And the mother of the IDF soldier captured in June 2006, made a heartfelt plea for action with an apology to her son for “not being able to protect you”.
The trip by Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshal will follow efforts by German intelligence who have sent an official to Cairo to help mediate.
The Germans are keen to talk to senior Israeli, Egyptian and Hamas officials to find out why there has been a standstill in negotiations and to offer a path to a breakthrough.
Hamas sees German intelligence as an honest broker, German sources gave told Haaretz.
In another development, was a visit to Cairo last week from a delegation of Hamas's military wing, led by Ahmed Jabari, its chief of staff, and senior staff. Talks were held on a possible prisoner swap.
Shalit’s birthday was marked by a series of rallies. Hundreds gathered in Mitzpeh Hila to demand more government action..
His mother Aviva addressed her son in a moving speech to the crowd: "I want to ask your forgiveness, Gilad. Forgive us for not being able to protect you, for not being able to prevent your suffering, even though it's not under our control. Forgive us for not being able to bring you home, in spite of all that we've tried."
Elsewhere, protesters rallied outside the Defence Department headquarters in Tel Aviv, waving signs that read: "Barak buried a soldier alive in Gaza," and "Ashkenazi - free Shalit or resign."