One for All and All for One
Shaul Amir

One for All and All for One

Today I am proud more than ever to be an Israeli. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by the Hamas five years and four months ago, is back home with his parents. What a joyous day!

Gilad looked thin, faint and tired but in good spirits. His conditions in the Hamas prison and solitude of so many years took their toll. We all pray for his full mental and physical recovery soon.

The same cannot be said for the released murderers. Many of them did their first and second college degrees in jail. Their complaints were that they are fed with too many Schnitzels. They had access to phones, TV, music and full freedom of religion in jail. What a tough deal!!!

Although I am politically opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu, for a brief pause, I am indeed very proud of the leadership he has demonstrated by taking a decision which is contrary to his belief, writings and preaching against surrendering to terror.

We are proud to be Israelis because we are different than our enemies. We cherish life while they preach for death and destruction.

I am proud to be an Israeli as I saw our unity, unity that engulfed the whole of Israel; right and left, poor and rich, religious and secular, all celebrated the return of the soldier who spent more time in jail than any other soldier in the history of the state of Israel.

A few days before Shalit’s release when final points of the arrangements were still discussed, a painful debate took place regarding the “price” that was paid by Israel for one soldier. One thousand and twenty-seven murderers were released from prison for one Israeli soldier. Was it worth it?

The Rambam said that the Mitzvah of redemption of prisoners is one of the most important Mitzvoth and it weighs against many other Mitzvoth.  I for one will not argue with such a scholar!

We heard arguments that the released terrorist murderers will increase the number of terrorist attacks against Israel and will result in more soldiers’ kidnappings to ensure the release of the rest of the 6,000 prisoners.

There are over 20,000 Hamas terrorists in Gaza that never stopped their attempts to kidnap an Israeli soldier. 200 more terrorists, some are old and some want to reunite with their families and return to normalcy, will not tip the delicate balance of our security against any form of terrorism. Nobody can or could give any assurances that Israel will be able to curb any form of terrorism forever. If, G-D forbid, it will happen, this exchange will not be the reason.

The 100 terrorists returning to the West Bank will be under the very watchful eyes of the PA security services and the Israeli Security Services, which have worked in full cooperation in the last couple of years. It is important to realize that the PA leadership in the West Bank is afraid of a Hamas takeover as they did in Gaza and thus will make sure that the returnees will not be involved in any activity, be it terrorist or political.

 The hearts of all the Israelis are with the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks on Israel through the years. Their wounds have been covered with a thin crust that has now opened and is bleeding. Israel’s refusal to pay the “price” now would not have brought their dear ones back but could have added one more victim to the long list.

Welcome home Gilad!    !ברוך הבא הביתה הגילעד

About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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