Photo: Gil Yohanan
When I sat there, in the Syrian prison, one thought kept me alive – the knowledge that the state is doing everything in order to bring me back home to my family and homeland. At times I imagined a hole in the floor, with IDF troops emerging out of it to rescue me.
There, in the Syrian prison, I recalled the images of our war captives from Egypt stepping off the plane. I remembered the efforts the state made to get the bodies of its soldiers back. Time and again I recounted the story of the hostage rescue in Entebbe.
Even in times of despair I knew that everything is being done in order to find out what happened to me and that they are making every effort to bring me back home alive.
There were times where I was considering the possibility of ending my life, particularly so that my captors will have a body and not a living soldier, but I knew that they will bring my body back to Israel too; I knew that they will never say that I disappeared.
Therefore, I support the current prisoner swap. As someone who sat in prison, with his family being told for two years that he is dead, I am convinced that we had to make the swap despite the heavy price of releasing murderer Samir Kuntar. Every soldier who goes to war should head to the battle field with the deep knowledge that the state will do everything to bring him back home.
This knowledge should be etched in the consciousness of every soldier, who should know that he can go to battle with the peace of mind that everything will be done to bring him back home.
God forbid that the example to be etched in our soldiers’ minds would be that of Ron Arad, whose fate is unknown to our regret.
I am glad that the swap is taking place and that the Goldwasser and Regev families can rest. When, heaven forbid, a soldier dies, army officials knock on the door and inform the family of the terrible news. Here, we have two families who for two years have been facing a terrible situation, waiting for that knock on the door.
Therefore, we had to do everything in order to end the distress they are facing.
Hezi Shai was held by Ahmad Jibril’s organization from 1982 to 1985