The fifth Rosh Hashana without Gilad is here, and the clear message conveyed by abandoning him is this: “You were captured? Don’t count on us to help you.” This is the message conveyed by the State of Israel to its troops.
All the values we were raised on – mutual responsibility, all for one and one for all, we never abandon our wounded – have turned into hollow clichés empty of all substance. Any mother sending its son to the army should know that falling in captivity for the sake of our country is not a good idea.
The fifth birthday in your absence was marked a week ago. We met your parents and our heart aches. Helpless and exhausted, they are like dead men walking, rotting away in the tent opposite the prime minister’s official residence, watching with sad eyes the cars headed to the birthday celebration held for the PM’s son.
Indeed, Gilad’s parents are seeing and hearing the people who are supposed to lose sleep until he returns preoccupied with schemes and intrigue, dinners at upscale restaurants, ego clashes, and dirty political games; it’s hard to estimate who suffers more, Gilad – you or your parents.
Yet this is not only about solidarity with the Shalits’ understandable pain. We are dealing with the shortsightedness of the people entrusted with our security; these people fail to understand that abandoning you in Hamas’ hands will cause security damage that is immeasurably greater than the release of a thousand terrorists, each one of whom has a substitute.
Is there something that is more dangerous than the shattered trust between the people and army? Children who are scared to enlist, and parents who are scared to send their sons to the army lest their fate be the same as yours, Gilad, and nobody will do a thing to save them.
Shalits are no egotists
No external enemy can endanger us like the loss of our domestic trust or the undoing of the pact. The implication of leaving you in Hamas’ hands for more than four years now is clear: Gilad, you’re on your own. This is the message conveyed to the State by to its soldiers. No Iranian threat poses greater danger to us than the above message.
Please allow me to ask for your forgiveness, Gilad – on behalf of our narrow-minded leaders, who only see the near future before them, while leaving the long-term damage for those who will follow them. On behalf of people whose ideology swallowed their heart, who are facing the tent where your parents are staying every day while hurling insults at them, as if the horrible suffering forced upon them isn’t enough – do they need other people to keep telling them they’re egotists, every day?
And a last request for forgiveness from all of us, who continue to support you quietly, from afar, instead of arriving en masses to sit there with your parents every day under the beating sun, in order to convey the clear and unequivocal message to the government – you are no longer the son of Aviva and Gilad; you’re the lost son of all of us.
Shana Tova, our son, Gilad.
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