May 11, 2011

Yoel Shalit Disturbed The Torch Lighting Ceremony (video)

At the torch lighting ceremony this Yom Ha'Atzmaut some very unusual incidents happened. One of the incidents was Yoel Shalit, brother of Gilad Shalit, broke into the ceremony with his girlfriend and disturbed it with his calls for releasing Gilad Shalit. He refused to leave and had to be dragged out. Even then he put up a fight and it was really not pretty.

Here is a video clip where you can see Yoel Shalit's disturbance:

So did Shalit go overboard? Was he out of place when he broke into the ceremony? Was he right or wrong for disturbing a ceremony honoring and remembering others and placing his pain above other people's issues?

The scene is very painful to watch. We all ache for the pain the Shalit family must be going through, for the pain Gilad must be going through. Everybody in Israel remembers and thinks about Gilad Shalit. Daily. The Shalit situation is discussed all the time. Nobody forgets about Gilad Shalit.

That being said, the Shalit family, from their perspective, has to do whatever they can, everything in their power, to try to bring about the release of their son, brother, grandson and to bring Gilad home. Even if that is in opposition to what the government, or the public, thinks is the right way.

I don't fault them for anything they do. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, no matter how bad it seems to look. Their pain is far worse than the discomfort and awkwardness they make others feel. Personally I think their efforts are misdirected. they have been pressuring the State of Israel to do everything possible to bring him home. What they mean by that is to pay too much, too high a price tag (as determined by the State) for his release. Personally, i think they should be directing their pressure towards Hamas, the Palestinians, the International community using the United Nations and human aid agencies perhaps, to pressure Hamas to lower their price, and perhaps to obtain better conditions for Gilad while in captivity.

That being said, the country, the government, has an obligation to do what it can to free Gilad Shalit, in the way it feels is correct. The government, and a lot of citizens as well, feels that the demands Hamas is making in exchange for Gilad is exaggerated and puts the country and it's citizens in danger. The government has to do everything in it's power to release Gilad, but it does not have to listen to the demands of the Shalit family.

Did Yoel Shalit go overboard? yes, he did, but he has the right, perhaps even the obligation, to. Should that make a difference to us or to the government that is negotiating for Gilad's release? It should not.


  1. I'm not following something. Poor Gilad Shalit שיחי׳ was captured as a soldier fighting for his country. Ultimately the government has operational control over soldiers and can and does order them to risk their lives.

    For example, the government may decide to sacrifice the lives of soldiers to protect civilians as was dome in operation cast lead in Gaza. They knowing sent soldiers out to die because our democracy has given them this right to make such a decision.

    Now. if the same government decides that releasing X amount of Hamas terrorists will endanger the public, sure this is their call. That's their job to make such decisions. In a way one could say that the Shalit family in trying to pressure the government are actually endangering the public and mixing in to operational military matters. They should have no more rmoral right to do this than any parent of a soldier on duty has to pressure the government to sacrifice civilians to protect their son.

  2. Totally disagree with you on this on Rafi. I understand that the Shalit family are frustrated but they are wrong. The government has to protect all the citizens not just the ones who make noise.
    In addition they are concentrating all their efforts on bad-mouthing the Prime Minister. What about the Hamas? What about the Red Cross (certainly they are in a position to do much more than they are doing!) What about the UN??? What about the whole rest of the free world. Look how Avital Sharansky ran all over the world drumming up support to pressure the USSR to let Anatoly (Natan) go. That is how to manage a struggle. Karnit Goldwasser didn't sit in a tent in Jerusalem either.
    Get real.

  3. Risa, you are actually agreeing with me on almost every point. i wrote exactly the same thing, except that I dont blame them for every interruption and disturbance. They should be disturbing Hamas, the UN, human rights organization, red Cross, and anyone else that might pressure Hamas, but their agenda is to get Gilad home, and I cannot blame them for trying to pressure Israel's government as well.
    That being said, and I wrote this, the government does not have to, and should not, listen to them.

  4. I can't judge the Shalit family in any way. They are doing what they think needs to be done. Whether it will help or not is the question. In this case, it probably won't help as for all future state/public events, they (the Shalits, at least the young ones) either won't be invited or will be seated in an area where they are surrounded by cops and where they can be restrained with minimum fuss.


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