Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The torment of freeing Gilad Shalit

I don't dare get my hopes too high.

Just yesterday there was the inauguration of the exhibit of "When the Shark and the Fish first met", a story written by 11 year old Gilad Shalit, at the European Parliament in Brussels.

And today I come home to read the headline we've been waiting for for over five years.

Gilad could be home within days

I can hardly believe it.

I know there are two sides to this argument.

I understand the Shalit family who are doing everything in their power to garner attention to their son. How can any mother sleep at night, knowing that her son is cold and hurt and alone? How can a father look at himself in the mirror without seeing the man whose job it is to always be there for his son? How can a brother or a sister go on with their lives while a void walks alongside them all the way? If you were any one of them, wouldn't you do everything and anything to free Gilad?

I also understand the families of the victims of terrorists, and all those who will say that the price we are paying is too high. Of course they are right, how can we free a single terrorist with blood on his hands and no remorse in his soul, let alone a thousand of them? How are we not encouraging more abductions? What about the feelings of the families of the future soldiers who risk getting kidnapped?

My younger brother is entering the IDF in a little less than three weeks. Right about the same time as when this deal is supposed to take place. Freeing a thousand terrorists and empowering Hamas is going to make everything so much more difficult for him, so much more dangerous. But how can I ignore the agony Gilad is still suffering for the comfort of my brother? How can I tell Aviva Shalit that in order for me to sleep soundly at night, I require her to continue having nightmares about what might be happening to her son?

I can't do that. Which is why, though I agree that the price is immensely high, and that Israel will be more vulnerable than before, and that my brother will be among the soldiers whose job it is to protect Israel's vulnerability, I wish for this deal to go through and for Gilad to finally go home.

They are right, it is a high price. It is our greatest flaw: we value life over everything else. But the opposite is worse.

So little brother, go and join the ranks of Israel's keepers. Be extra cautious. While you keep us safe, remember that we will also do everything to keep you safe in return.

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