For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
An ominous sense of an impending deal is in the air. It is hard to oppose it. All of us pray for Gilad's release. All of us will cry with joy when, with G-d's help, we will see his parents hugging their beloved son.
But we already know the price that we will have to pay. 80% of Hamas terrorists return to terror after their release, as do 60% of Fatah terrorists. In other words, 16 of the 20 terrorists released in exchange for the short video of Gilad, will commit new acts of terror. It is reasonable to assume that two or three Jews will pay for this movie with their lives.
The wholesale release of professional murderers will cost much more, G-d forbid. But their victims are still nameless and faceless. They do not have addresses, they do not know that they are the next in line and they cannot lobby politicians on their own behalf. In the Israeli reality in which questions of life and death are decided by rating considerations, the future victims have no chance.
About a month ago, I published an open letter to Defense Minister Barak in which I requested that no negotiations should be conducted for my release if I were to be abducted, G-d forbid. The letter made waves and many people joined added their signatures to my letter or penned letters of their own. One of those people was Yitzchak Ovitz, a soldier in Gilad's company. His letter was widely covered in the media:
"Since Gilad was abducted, I feel torn and I do not know what to do to help him. Like every Jew on earth, I pray for him and hope that he will be released soon - safe and sound. Yet, I am dismayed at how our entire country kneels before the terror organizations every time that they succeed in capturing one of our fighters in their clutches. This situation is intolerable and we fall into this trap time and again. I am frequently forced to refuse the requests of my fellow soldiers from our company and brigade to participate in demonstrations for Gilad. I have reached the conclusion that our intellect must take precedence over our emotions, as painful as this is for me."
Manhigut Yehudit put an internet petition on its website, affording people the opportunity to add their signatures to the request not to negotiate their release. Due to lack of funds, we were not able to run a major campaign to publicize the petition. Nevertheless, approximately 100 soldiers and citizens signed. In light of this spontaneous response, we are certain that tens of thousands of citizens would sign this petition if they could. A major public outcry against the pending dangerous deal could sway some ministers from authorizing the exchange.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"