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.
The lineup of ex-generals and security officials who over the past few weeks have demoralized the country by urging us to roll up our sleeves for the cyanide shot – hundreds of murderers to be injected straight into the bloodstream of Israeli society in exchange for Gilad Shalit – raises some grave questions. Is there some sort of ideological filter on the way up the ladder to the senior command posts in Israel? How could it be that so many senior security officials hold views that are so antithetical to Israel's security?
We all know that the hundreds of terrorists released in the 2004 Tannenbaum deal have sown death and destruction in Israel. So how could people who are supposed to be responsible for our security encourage the same scenario all over again?
Plainly, Gilad Shalit's release is not a military issue. It is simply a question of the willingness of Israeli society to pay the price. The army may not know where Shalit is – a damning admission in and of itself. But it does know the whereabouts of the Hamas leaders responsible for his captivity.
We could make those Hamas terrorists desire to release Shalit. But we do not want a rocket war here and we do not want international pressure, either. That is why Shalit is still in captivity. We could cut off their electricity, but we do not want demonstrations throughout the world and pictures of the hospitals in Gaza working by candlelight. We do not want to pay that price, so Gilad is still in captivity.
We do not want to face off against the bleeding hearts in our justice system, so Israel's Hamas prisoners will continue to receive visitation rights, academic studies and deluxe conditions that they could never dream of getting elsewhere. That is why Shalit is still in captivity. And possibly the most amazing fact of all: We insist on continuing our payments and monthly salaries to Gilad's captors. That is why Gilad is still in captivity.
With just a bit of creativity, we could employ countless actions that would bring Gilad Shalit home without firing a single shot or endangering a single Israeli soldier. But every action bears a price and Israel's leaders assume that our society is not willing to pay it. That is why Gilad Shalit is still in captivity.
The easy solution is to surrender and release terrorists. It seems, though, that Israeli society is beginning to wake up and understand that the release of terrorists also carries a price that it is not willing to pay.
The Shalit campaign has finally understood that they must change their strategy. We are beginning to see some of those changes in the demonstrations that they hold and we can only hope that they will not stop. After all, Treasury Minister Yuval Steinitz has already clearly stated that it is possible to stop the cash flow from Israel to the Hamas. He even stopped it for a short period of time after the unity agreement between the PLO and Hamas.
Now, Steinitz should explain to the Shalit family why he does not withhold that money on a permanent basis until their son is released. Is it because of some sort of ultimatum of the Hamas? A threat to continue to fire missiles at Israel?
Can our leaders explain what price they are not willing to pay to free Gilad?
The time has come to switch strategies. Block the Brinks trucks carrying money for Gaza. Cut off the electricity to Gaza. Cut off the water. Protest against visitation rights for jailed terrorists. Announce it in public and encourage the huge crowds that participated in pointless marches to get involved. This is the type of activism that the entire nation – both Right and Left – will join.
When Israel's leaders will understand that the people are willing to pay the price of Gilad's release but are not willing to send hundreds of others to their deaths in his stead, we will finally see real action to bring him home.
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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!"