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Issues of the Day Gilad Shalit: May he have a long life, free to just be

The welcomed news that a deal has been struck between the Government of Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza that will lead to the release of Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit,  leaves me with a feeling of thankfulness.  

I have frequently thought of Noam Shalit, Gilad's father who, along with his wife Aviva and other members of their family have been ceaseless campaigners for Gilad's release. Noam's  life and those of the other family members have been shackled to Gilad's captivity these five years.

As a father, I have long shuddered at Noam's plight, the ongoing uncertainty of  whether his tireless efforts on behalf of Gilad would defeat the titanic forces to which he was hostaged. Such perseverance reflects uncommon strength – and a father's love.    


Whether or not it was a wise decision to release a thousand convicted security prisoners in return for Gilad is irrelevant. The Netanyahu government, acting in accord with the demands of the Israeli people, conformed to the ancient Jewish principle of pidyon hashuvim, redeeming captives, which is regarded as  a cardinal imperative. The knowledge that their government will do everything in its power to return prisoners held by an enemy is part of the glue that keeps the Israel Defense Forces a supremely motivated army.


An aspiration repeated fervently in daily Jewish prayers that appears in the Book of Isaiah describes a future when   

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.


As a father, I yearn for such a day, when there will be no more Gilad Shalits.


May he have a long life, free to just be. 

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved