Photo: AP
Gilad Shalit
Photo: AP
A moral debt. Olmert
Photo: AP

Gilad can't come back in casket, say comrades

Captive soldier's company said to end mandatory military service later this week. Soon-to-be civilians say they intend on launching public campaign for his release

Gilad Shalit's  comrades will be turning in their military gear later this week, as their mandatory army service will come to its end.


The graduates of the IDF's 2005 recruitment class intend on sending Defense Minister Ehud Barak and  Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a letter demanding they bring about the immediate release of their friend.


"We are being released today – when will he be?" they ask.


"In July of 2005, we all reported to the IDF's Induction Center, determined to join a front-line unit and perform our ethical duty – defending our country's borders from all enemies.


"We were young, naïve soldiers, believing that our commanding officers were right, not only because they were our superiors, but by proxy of what we beloved to be their conscientious decree. We believed that the orders given to us were well thought through; believed that should one hair on our heads be harmed, nothing would stop them from bringing us back home.


"Among us was a soldier named Gilad Shalit. He too trusted his commanders. He too believed that should he be captured, the State of Israel would not rest until he was reunited with his family.


"Just last week, you – Prime Minister Olmert – finally redeemed the moral debt owed to the Regev and Goldwasser families and made sure their sons returned, if only to be buried in their homeland after two years in Hizbullah captivity.


'You owe us our freedom'

"You, Mr. Olmert, agreed to negotiate with our worst enemies, agreed to free vile murderers, so that the Regev and Goldwasser families can find closure and have a grave to visit.


"The next moral debt lies in a dark dungeon south from here," continues the letter. "That debt is still alive, waiting hour after hour, day after day, to be redeemed. That debt has a face. It has a name - Gilad Shalit.


"Gilad has a mother and a father – Aviva and Noam, and they cannot be given their son back in a casket. We see Gilad's proof of life – the letters, the tape – and we know it could have been anyone of us; we know we escaped by some quirky twist of fate.


"We are all Israel's children and you owe us our freedom. A country which sent us to fight for it has to do everything in its power to bring us home.


"Naïve, we set out to defend the southern border, back in the summer of 2005. We are no longer naïve and we call on you to free Gilad – today! Do not forget his suffering or that of his family. Do not forget the pain his friends, who are no longer in uniform, feel. We are being released today – when will be?" ends the letter.


Shalit's comrades intend on marching on the Kirya – the IDF base in central Tel Aviv – on Tuesday. The march is scheduled to end with a rally in the city's Rabin Square.


The negotiations to free Shalit are said to be at a standstill. Hamas has indicated that it will not concede to any of the Israeli proposed changes in the original deal's outline.


Hamas prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh spoke before the Islamic University students on Friday and said that "We promise our prisoners the dawn will rise on their release and we will celebrate victory and liberty, Allah willing… We stand by our demands – we will not back down on any demand regarding the prisoners' release."


Gilad Shalit has been in Hamas captivity for 755 days.


פרסום ראשון: 07.20.08, 09:33
 new comment
This will delete your current comment