Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Gilad Gilad - ברוך שובך - Welcome Back !
There have been so many articles written, so much debate. But as always, I will write my piece from the inside out. I am sitting at my computer feeling the palpable relief and joy from a day of watching Gilad come home at the same moment as I am hearing the celebratory fireworks of the arab villages around me - those who are delighted in the release of the terrorists. I cannot easily describe what that feels like. Each explosion of their celebration cuts into my heart. The moment feels like an oxymoron.
I am one of those people who believe this was the right thing to do...hands down. It was an enormously tough decision for Bibi Netanyahu. He was surely between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but in my opinion, he showed extraordinary leadership to do what he did. At the same time I understand the grief and feelings of betrayal families whose loved ones have been murdered must be feeling at this moment. Their pain must be terrible, reopening wounds that never heal anyway. There were 2 terrorists he allowed released that horrified me and I found their freedom to be completely inexcusable. I don't understand his reasoning,, but I am not the PM (thank God) and perhaps there are things I don't know about it. I most certainly don't agree with everything Bibi does; nonetheless, today I am proud of Israel.
It was, I believe, a window of opportunity that presented itself and had to be acted upon quickly. Hamas was humiliated by the apparent success of Abbas in the UN - they had to do something to bring credibility to their "organization." Even though they appear not to want to be in the "game", nothing could be further from the truth. If they were going to remain one of the players, they would have to capitulate on some of their demands. At the same time, Egypt's military, trying desperately to hold on to power before the Muslim Brotherhood gains a bigger piece of the pie, and before Hamas relocates from Syria to Egypt, had another window opened. Israel HAD to act. We held firm on the big guns that Hamas wanted, and they had to give in. Hamas never gives in. They were desperate...and we had to move in at that moment.
The political right is considerably upset about a perceived victory for Hamas, even Fatah, and terrorism in general. They are certain this will result in more terrorism, emboldened by the release of the murderers, these terrorists, they are certain, will not hesitate to return to their vile deeds. I am neither stupid nor naive. I live here. I have been shot at by Palestinian terrorists, their bullets shattering glass at my feet, pushed off the road by arab terrorists wanting me dead in the ravine; and without going into detail I have been in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. I realize the potential as well as the next person.
But we cannot live on feared future scenarios, nor the exaggerated bravado of terrorists and their leaders. Our strength is in the fact that today we cared enough about one soldier's life to risk. That's it. Today we should be proud. When the Israeli officer goes to battle he does not send his men to fight, he goes first and says "follow me." Don't be fooled by the loud voices that want to distract. Today Israel said "follow me" and whether they voice it or not, the world, even our enemies took notice.
Miki Goldwasser, whose son was murdered by Hezbollah terrorists, said this: "Today is our victory day. The day where we decided that our values and our confidence in the righteousness of our way shall guide us. ..they did not win, and they know it."
In fact, Hamas itself, and Islamists throughout the Arab countries, recognized the strength that Israel displayed, the morality of the value placed on human life, and were envious. Two of many statements issued by our enemy were these: "This is a pillar of Israel's strength - to wage a war to free one man, to free a thousand prisoners for him." and "I wish I were Gilad Shalit; I wish my country cared so much about me"
One could argue about all the fine points. The critics have screamed to high heaven about how terrible this "deal" was...how could Israel this, and how could Israel that? ....telescoping in on only one segment of the unfolding drama. Tunnel vision. They are so caught up in their despair and criticism that they fail to see that Israel did a good thing.
But even worse...they are so caught up with their future prognostications of doom that they failed to see the face of one of our sons. Though etched in signs of an awful reality that we will never know...there was an unmistakeable look of wonder on Gilad's face. There was that smile that must have felt like a dream. Physically weak and exhausted, emotionally struggling to maintain, Gilad's courageous and explicit answers to the cruel and heartless interview forced upon him by Egyptian journalists was the real picture of what happened today.
We can argue all the fine points tomorrow. But today Gilad was kulanu כולנו - all of us..Am Yisrael - the people of Israel ..full of wonder and as if in a dream. We are proud of you Gilad and so happy and relieved to see you home safely.
And I am proud of Israel. Am Yisrael chai - עם ישראל חי - the people of Israel lives !