Sunday, March 15, 2009
On the horns of a dilemma
It is 994 days that Gilad has been in captivity, the sign says.
In July 2006 he was kidnapped in a cross-border raid by terrorists. They took the young soldier, only 19 then, back into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. He has not been seen since.
I was in Jerusalem today and I saw the protest tent that his parents have been sitting in for the past eight days, just outside Prime Minister Olmert's residence. Noam and Aviva Schalit are quiet good people who have been pushing in a non-theatrical way for all those 994 days to have their son back home. My heart was with them. All my children have served their years of compulsory army service. When you are a soldier's mother, it is like you are mother to all the girls and boys in uniform.
A dozen young people were down the block at a busy intersection, waving posters and jumping up and down and chanting "Rotsim oto babayit!" meaning we want him home. Many passing drivers tooted their horn in support.
But across the street stood a few protesting parents whose children were killed by terrorists. They oppose Israel's freeing of hundreds of terrorists from our prisons, which is what Hamas is demanding in return for Schalit. They bring the chilling statistics that 180 people have been killed by terrorists who had been freed in past prisoner swaps.
Everyone feels that the window of opportunity is closing because our new government will be taking over in a matter of days or weeks. Before Prime Minister Olmert and his ministers leave office, they have to make a decision.
The IDF and the whole country has always prided itself on not leaving wounded soldiers behind on the battlefield.
We are on the horns of a moral dilemma.