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Remember Gilad Shalit

Remember Gilad Shalit

Friday, 25 June 2010, marked 4 years of captivity for Gilad Shalit. Where is the outcry?


Recent events involving Israel have underlined a fault line running through the Jewish people.

On one side are those who say that the international critique of Israel is nothing more than pathological anti-Semitism, so there’s no point in Israel responding to a no-win situation with anything other than a militant defiance, including a harsh blockade.

On the other side are those insisting that if Israel, using seichel, was more PR-savvy and somewhat strategic and flexible when responding to provocations, there might be a melting of the isolation, even ostracism, that is closing in on Israel like a glacial advance.

Both propositions are being tested yet again by Israel’s announcement that it is relaxing its Gaza blockade, allowing in everything other than items for military use. Ideally, this will bolster international support for that part of the blockade that remains, a blockade expected to be tested by other flotillas in the weeks ahead.

Ideally, it would mean international support for obtaining the release of Gilad Shalit, who on June 25 will be entering his fifth year as a captive of Hamas, denied even Red Cross visitation, or any of the protections that all prisoners of war are entitled to under the Geneva accords. The blockade was partially initiated by Israel as a response to Shalit’s captivity, a “card” Israel hoped to trade for his freedom.

Imagine if he was your own son or brother.

Awareness of Shalit gained belated traction in the recent blockade debate, but he is being forgotten now that the blockade has eased. A New York Times editorial, praising Israel for its recent move, made no mention of the young soldier. With all the discussions of “humanitarian aid,” Israel’s Ehud Barak correctly pointed out that the one person in Gaza most in need of humanitarian aid is the young captive soldier who won’t be getting it. Considering the national protests over the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the relative silence over Shalit’s situation is remarkable.

There was once a time, exemplified by the Soviet Jewry movement, when a Jew’s pain and imprisonment on the other side of the globe was profoundly felt by Jews here in New York, with mass rallies attended by tens of thousands. Today, there are no similar protests for Gilad Shalit, though his mistreatment should be eliciting a humanitarian cry beyond politics.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from young Jews who are “embarrassed” by Israel’s policies. That Shalit and his family -- our family -- should be suffering for yet another year ought to be embarrassing for all of us. Imagine if he was your own son or brother.

Once upon a time, American Jews had no trouble doing exactly that.

Courtesy of the New York Jewish Week

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June 24, 2010

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Visitor Comments: 28

(28) Avraham Wyszynski, June 28, 2011 5:11 PM

The tragedy is that we don't know if our prayers are needed.

If we knew he was alive and in captivity we could pray for his freedom.If we knew otherwise we could adjust our prayers. We do not even know his status. I pray that Ribonno shel'Olam should set this injustice right and deal with the perpetrators according to His Law.

(27) Tonna Chavez, June 26, 2011 4:29 PM

a year later...

I was sitting at the computer this morning...going about my life as usual. I decided to check emails and read articles, when I clicked on the article about Gilad Shalit. I was reading past comments with regards to this article, when I noticed one that I had written almost exactly one year ago today...two days shy, to be exact. I have been going on with my life one day after another and yet, this beautiful young man is still being held captive! Insane!!! I will continue to pray for his safe release back home to his family! I will also begin what I should have begun a year ago...write/email our own govenrment (shame on them!) as to why Gilad Shalit is still being held captive and is the government doing all that it can do to bring this young man home safely and soon! In the not too distant past there have been numerous others that were held against their will by others...I recall the three young people that were released just this past year and before that there were two young women...what about this, Mr. Obama? This one young man is no less important!

(26) Joyce Green, January 16, 2011 6:56 PM

What more can we do to help poor Shalit and his enduring family

My heart breaks for this continuing tragedy. God willing this will be corrected very soon.

(25) Carter D. Smith, October 13, 2010 2:43 AM

Verry sad.

I am a 10 year old girl, I wish he could be set free for free.When i get older I will help him.Right now i've saved a unuff money to buy 3999 zanybandz.For your information i'm not Jewish but I respect the Jewish religion and go to a Jewish and learn how to speak Hebrew. Shalom.=Goodbye,Peace,andHello.

(24) Anonymous, July 19, 2010 12:39 AM

To the one who feels helpless and to all


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