Earlier this week a significant event for Middle East occurred. Israeli solider Gilad Schalit who was held captive by Hamas for five years was released. Gilad was only 19 when he was captured in June 2006 near the Gaza border. The deal that brought home Gilad also included the release of 1000 Palestine prisoners.
I spoke with two friends of mine who are currently in the Israeli Defense Force about how Gilad’s release has been received in Israel. One of my friends said, “Gilad being freed is all over the news … its pretty amazing and almost everyone is extremely happy, and you barely hear talks about all the terrorists they had to free in order to make the deal happen (its an issue but the media doesn’t give it much coverage. him being freed is much more exciting and thrilling, and obviously more appealing to the public…)” When I wrote to my friend it was before Gilad return and he told me
“I resent the extent of media coverage and the fisco they’re making of it: Gilad’s family has set up a few tents in front of the prime-minister’s residents a year ago, and when the news of his release were published, they took it down and headed home —> there waited a huge crowd and lots of journalists harassing them ever since. all the headlined say “Gilad is home” and interviewers on TV asked Noam, his father: “how do you feel now you can have Gilad back”. the poor man, with tears in his eyes mumbles “hes not home YET. save the champagne and celebrations for when we have him safe and healthy…”
I included the picture of Gilad with his father because to me the most important part of Gilad’s release is that a family has there son back. For some families that have children serving in the military it is not always true that they will ever be able to enjoy their child’s return. I will conclude with a quote that is at the heart of what I learned in CISV.
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” -Gandhi