Gilad Shalit is home. I AM happy for him, for his family, for us. But I am worried. I am worried about the repercussions -- we freed ONE THOUSAND murderers in exchange for his safe return – FIVE years after his abduction. Many of those whom we freed, WILL kill again. These are not random killings. These are targeted, terroristic, anti-semitic killings in the name of a religion that tolerates none other but its own – and that targets Jews in particular for horrific deaths.
What will happen in the mind of Gilad Shalit, the first time one of those whom we freed kills again? What will happen when he realizes his life was traded for the life of those killed? For that, in essence, is what has happened, or rather, will happen. There is no way that one cannot extrapolate such reasoning. And in the mind of a young man, who has endured five years of torture and little to no communication with anyone who was at all sympathetic to him, who was obviously not treated with great care (to wit: his appearance, pale, thin, nearly emaciated, obviously emotionally traumatized) it would not be a great stretch for him to encounter this turn of logic. It is thus I fear for him, for his psyche, for his well being – and by extension for the well being of his family.
What is happening now, in the minds of the families of those who were killed by those whom we freed? How do they reconcile the welcoming home of this young man, who is being hailed as a hero, with the unending void left by those who were torn from them by those whom we freed? There is a deep-seated need in the minds of most of us, for some sort of vengeance against anyone who violently removes from our midst those whom we love. Incarceration is the response that we generally take to resolve that, to lock these people up so they cannot do more harm. It is also considered more humane, than torture, or punishment by physical harm or death. But, the release of a child’s murderer is pure torture for those already experiencing the worst torture of their lives – the permanent loss of their child.
I am not stating that the trade was wrong or right. I am stating that I am concerned. This trade, in my eyes was a “lose/lose” proposition. It has been said that Bibi Netanyahu made a hard decision. Perhaps. I recently attended an event at which Uzi Arad spoke. Uzi Arad is the former chief deputy of the Mossad. He said, he felt that the harder decision for Netanyahu to make would have been to say NO. No trade. Can you imagine? Telling Gilad Shalit’s parents, “No, we are not bringing your boy back. The price is too high.” How could one do that?
A friend of mine pointed out that in Tehillim, for the day that Gilad was released, both Sukkot and Gilad are mentioned. Gilad’s release came about in the midst of the festival of Sukkot. From this she wishes to extrapolate that it was meant to be, that there is some hashgacha pratis, divine providence, in this happening, now, at this time. I pray that she is right.
No, there are no easy decisions. We lose anyway we look at it, no matter how we play it. For, in the eyes of the world, we Jews are always wrong. We are wrong. We have no rights. We are considered usurpers (formerly that was usurers). On the one hand we hear the cry, “Go back where you came from”, from anti-semites across the world. Well, we did, we are continuing to do that and what do we get for that? We are told, “You have no rights to be in Israel”. But that is where we came from?
So, world, which is it? I think the answer is simple: as far as the world is concerned Jewish blood is cheap. It is acceptable for us to free one thousand murderers in exchange for one young and vulnerable soldier. It is acceptable to do this knowing that those murderers will turn around and DO IT AGAIN. But Jewish blood is cheap so it is okay.
But we have a secret. The Jews will never go away. We will never disappear. G-d promised us that we will always be here.
We are a nation. We are mighty and great because we have the hand of G-d over us, protecting us.