Oct 16, 2011

Sukkot and Gilad Shalit

I have had very mixed emotions over the past couple of days, ever since the deal to free Gilad Shalit was announced, and especially since Friday.

While wanting, and expecting, our government to do everything in its power to free Gilad Shalit, releasing over a thousand terrorists, many of whom were directly involved in numerous murders of Israelis, was, for me, considered too high a price to pay. 1 for 1000? murderers? Putting so many other Israelis at risk? Make a better deal. I did not support it until now.

On the other hand, we have a human life, Gilad Shalit, that can be immediately saved, while the risk is a future, and only a risk - not the definite murder of Israelis.

I think everyone grappled with the same struggles and what to support throughout the ordeal. I decided the pressure should be directed toward the international community, the Red Cross, Hamas, The Palestinian Authority, the supporters of Hamas and/or PA, etc. rather than towards the Israeli government. That is why I personally did not join in protest marches and other events along the way - they were directing the pressure at the Israeli government to be more flexible, i.e. to release more terrorists.

However, now that the deal has been signed, and it seems to pass all the legal issues, unless by a miracle the opponents get their petition to the court accepted, it is time, I think, to accept it, and welcome Gilad Shalit home, despite the price. It is not his fault, and he nor his family should be treated with any disrespect. They did what they had to do. Just the opposite - Gilad Shalit will, and so he should, be welcomed with open arms and will be given a hero's welcome.

Yet it still worries me as to what the future holds as a result of this deal. The government and IDF must be responsible, must prevent future kidnappings, increase security and do whatever is necessary.

On Friday my friend was arrested for vandalizing the Rabin memorial at Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv./ He did so out of great anger and frustration, as the terrorist who helped kill his parents and siblings in the Sbarro bombing is being released as part of this deal. That increased my emotional turbulence. I cannot even imagine what he is, or what any of the bereaved families are, going through, as they see the murderers of their relatives go free. What to think now? I don't know. My heart goes out to them, but I don't know what can be done. It is very difficult.

Last night I laid in the sukkah going to sleep, looking up at the sky through the schach and internalizing the lessons I keep reading and hearing about sukkot. the flimsiness of the hut we are temporarily living in to teach us the frailty of life, the temporariness of worldly possessions and the fact that everything is given and taken by God in Heaven. Only He can protect us or let us fall prey to our enemy. The government and the army are but tools in His hands, and while not necessarily understanding how he chooses to do this or that, everything is fleeting and it is Hashem we must beseech for clarity and security.


  1. I wonder how hard it will be on the Shalits themselves. There will be the initial euphoria: He's home!
    And when the first Jew is killed by one of these released terrorists, chas v'shalom, what do they think then? Oh well, at least we got Gilad back?

  2. the supporters of the deal already have that question answered: its the army's responsibility

  3. Yossi Klein Halevy on the deal:

    Very worth reading.

    Btw: why did your friend deface the Rabin Memorial? Why not deface the Shalit tent on Ben Maimon?

  4. i just want to know what took so long. it looks like a lousy deal for us Israelis. Is this really the best they could do after all these years? I don't think much of our negotiators if this is the best that they could do.

  5. The following is from a conversation which I had with Rabbi David Bar-Hayim:

    During the days of Hazal the formula of not paying an excessive amount for a Jewish captive was an appropriate one since otherwise those seeking ransom (the equivalent of pirates) would understand that taking Jews prisoner was a profitable endeavor.

    Nowadays, we face a situation which Hazal were not addressing- the existence of a sovereign Jewish state faced by enemies sworn to its destruction who exploit the taking of captives and the subsequent negotiating process as a means of weakening and demeaning us.

    Under such circumstances no such deals whatsoever are appropriate insofar as they further our enemy's designs.

  6. I wonder whether the deal represents a divide in Israeli society, based on a cruel reality:

    The price will be paid largely by "settlers" and those who live in Yerushalayim, who are more likely victims of future terror than those who live everywhere else.

    Add to that, that secular Israel has a relatively low percentage of offspring in elite combat units, as compared to religious Israel, and that they more identify with Gilad Shalit than they do with the future victims.

  7. "secular Israel has a relatively low percentage of offspring in elite combat units"


  8. Dovid - The price will be paid largely by "settlers" and those who live in Yerushalayim, who are more likely victims of future terror than those who live everywhere else.

    What about people making seder in Netanya?

    What about people riding buses in Tel Aviv?

    What about people in a Cafe or club in Haifa?


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