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The Release of Gilad Shilat

The historic release of Gilad Shalit is celebrated by Israel and the Jewish community worldwide. The extreme cost for his freedom taints this celebration.

I am writing this article on the fourth day of Chol Hamoed Sukkot.  On the secular calendar the date is Oct. 18, 2011. This day will be remembered in history as the day Gilad Shalit came home. Five years ago, in a cross-border raid Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas. Gilad Shalit was not part of an invading force or a tactical military operation. 

This teenager was kidnapped from his sovereign country by criminals in a criminal act.  The fact that Gilad Shalit served his country as a member of the Israeli Defense Force confuses the issue. Gilad Shalit like every other Israeli teen is required by law to serve in the IDF. Every 19-year-old in Israel who is able to serve (with rare exemptions) is a member of the IDF. We cannot confuse this crime as an act of war simply because Gilad Shalit was wearing a uniform. This crime is a kidnapping perpetrated by terrorists.

After five years of prayer, hope and faith the community of Israel has seen their collective dream come to fruition. Gilad Shalit is finally free.

As a result of delicate negotiations with Hamas, Israel has agreed to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure his freedom.  Among these prisoners are terrorists responsible for some of the most horrific acts of terrorism in Israel’s young history. Contained within their resume is the 1989 attack on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bus. Sixteen civilians were killed including 13 Israelis, two Canadians and one American; 27 more were wounded.  Their resume continues with the bombing of Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in which 15 civilians were killed and 130 injured. The victims of these attacks range in age from 2 to 63. 

The value placed upon human life is one of our defining values.  The Mishnah teaches us whoever saves a life is considered as having saved the entire world. Israel’s actions resulting in the release of Gilad Shalit conform to this defining value. Israel has shown the world the value that Judaism places upon the sanctity of human life.

We enter Simchat Torah one of our most joyous holidays celebrating the freedom of Gilad Shalit. Our celebration is tainted by the extreme sacrifice that Israel has made by releasing some of the most violent sworn enemies of our people. As we join the family of Gilad Shalit in celebrating his release from captivity we mourn together with the families of those killed by the terrorists released in this so-called prisoner exchange.

We can only pray that history does not repeat itself. Past releases of terrorists have resulted in additional civilian casualties through repeated acts of terror. 

It is my hope and prayer that we will see a day when the decendents of Abraham can live together in peace. May the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael come together as cousins paying true tribute to our common ancestor Abraham, the father of ethical monotheism.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pam Robinson October 21, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Yes, but as you say, it's one blog; we do not control the content. The point of the feature is to encourage local people to write on issues important to them or on which they have some expertise. Obviously this topic is important and is of concern to this rabbi's congregation. Ditto the people writing about Facebook or legal issues or ghost hunting. Local voices.
Martin Jones October 21, 2011 at 11:55 PM
I agree on both sides of the argument, but I do believe that Patch has turned into too many blogs and not enough articles of content that feature our community. What happened to the open house column (House Hunt) and the column that featured local sold houses weekly? The SOLD column had the most up to date listing of sold houses in our area which is important to every local homeowner in this housing market. Patch had the most up to date information as all other websites narrow down sold properties to the last 6 months, the Patch had the last 6 days. Articles like these that are information based are being replaced by random blogs, blogs that take up half the home page. Sure, the blogs are interesting, but they shouldn't take over the Patch and replace the weekly columns or updates that some of us only come to the Patch to read.
Pam Robinson October 22, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Mr. Jones, thanks for your thoughtful comments. We do like to hear specifics about what people want from Patch. Thanks again.
Martin Jones October 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Thanks for listening. I hope that Patch brings these columns back soon.
Jim R. October 24, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Pam - I think it's irresponsible of the patch not to control the content of the blogs. Patch is ultimately responsible for what is published this site. What if someone were to write a blog piece how they feel abortion is murder and how abortion doctors are murderers (I'm just using an example that could cause a stir to emphasize a point... )? Is this the aim of the patch blogs? Patch shouldn't be a blog hosting site. If that's what it turns into, I will not visit the site. We want local news, about local activities, happening here. That's the essence of the Patch.

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