So Good the Peace of Coming Home! I have limited Hebrew skills but that’s how I translated one of many new Hebrew banners that seemed to appear everywhere in Jerusalem within hours of the announcement that Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held in captivity in Gaza for the past five years, was finally coming home. The sentiment surrounding the advent of Gilad’s release may have been a first: finally something has happened in Israel that Arab and Jew has celebrated together.
Sadly, many Arabs celebrate for different reasons.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasralah called Gilad’s release “a pure achievement that sanctifies the culture of resistance.” We can quibble with words like pure, sanctifies and culture, but, bottom line, Nasralah is right
They celebrated in Gaza and Ramalah (although some complain); 1027 heroes of radical Islam had been set free from Israeli prisons for the return of just one Jew. These distinguished gentlemen and ladies, while in the care of the state they are dedicated to destroy, were well-fed, kept warm and had access to complete medical care. They had television. They were allowed visitors. Some of them began working on college degrees while Gilad… One Israeli journalist described Shalit as he was released as, “deathly pale, terribly underweight with dark circles under his eyes. He looks like a walking corpse.”
It is probably safe to assume that Gilad was not offered a college option while held captive.
But nearly everyone is happy. Polling claimed that eighty per cent of Israeli citizens were in favor of the trade of 1 for 1,027. That is an astounding consensus in a country that spawns demonstrations objecting to the rising price of cottage cheese; a country where Jews cannot begin to agree on the timing of the new moon or the identity of their enemies. Banners and TV shows and original music, all extensions of the well documented but hard to understand Jewish Heart, broke out in profusion celebrating the day that…what?
The day that Gilad came home, yes. And the day that a legion of convicted terrorists were set free in Israel and Gaza having vowed immediately after their release to redouble their efforts to kill more Jews, bring an end to the Jewish State, and to harvest more Gilads.
But for some, sadly a minority, it is beyond understanding how those who, though rightfully concerned for Gilad’s return, were willing to put an untold number of Israeli children, future Gilads, at risk by embracing A Pact Signed in Jewish Blood.
I heard an interview on Israeli National Radio that seemed to sum everything up. Israel lives in mediocrity. Weak leaders follow a weaker, wayward public who cannot make up their collective mind. We want to secure our borders by abandoning them. We want to save our soldiers by putting murderers back on the streets. We want peace, even if it means inviting our desperate enemies, with our weakness and indecision, to make war.