Earlier, over 4,000 high school students gathered to march through the city in support of Gilad. Shalit made it clear that he was filled with sorrow and pain over his statements, but future soldiers will need to pray for a miracle to not be abandoned to fate by those who send them out to fight and later claim the price is too high.
He added that throughout the country's history, "Israel released hundreds of thousands of prisoners and terrorists for captive IDF soldiers at a ratio of one to hundreds or more. This is actually a sign of strength, power and not weakness. The fact that one IDF soldier is worth hundreds and even thousands of enemy forces definitely points to how highly we rate human life in our society."
He then added that his son has been in captivity for 1,716 days and nights – nearly five years.
"Our Gilad has been abandoned and deserted alone, in the dark without any connection to the outside world, in Hamas cellars in Gaza," he told students, "nearly five years now that Gilad's life, an IDF soldier sent to protect the borders of his country has become a commercial item to be bought and sold. This is proof of the inadequacy of the Israeli government and its leaders."
Dream remains unfulfilled
In order to demonstrate the length of time that has passed since his son was kidnapped, Shalit reminded them of what they have been doing for the past five years: traveling, making new friends, fighting with old ones, connecting on facebook – Gilad doesn't even know what facebook is, dreaming dreams and mainly fulfilling them…Gilad's biggest dream has yet to be fulfilled after so many days and years and it doesn't seem like it will come true any time soon."
Answering questions over the price of a deal to free his son, Shalit noted: "The argument expressed now and again from learned sources that freed prisoners will return to the ways of terror doesn't stand up to the values we have been brought up on for generations – falls before the value of solidarity in the IDF, how we forgotten those values? Have our leaders forgotten those values?"
"Have the State of Israel and its defense forces not dealt in the passed, and will be capable of dealing in the future, with dozens of terrorists if and when they choose to return to terror?" Shalit wondered, "Senior commanders both past and present, including chiefs of staff and Shin Bet chiefs, believe and state publicly that we can deal with these dangers."
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