The Shalit campaign with its narrow vision warns us about undermining our social strength and a decline in the number of volunteers to elite IDF units, yet reality shows us the opposite. This week we were also informed about the launch of a campaign urging Israelis to send text messages – a purely economic initiative – while also shamefully watching celebrities being jailed in an imaginary “jail cell,” thereby gaining media exposure.
But was Hamas softened by this display? Did it promote Gilad Shalit’s release? Isn’t it clear to all those “men of letters” that capitulation and the release of hundreds of terrorists will exact a bloody price, as happened in the past?
Noam Shalit declared that “the prime minister has no mandate to sentence Gilad to death.” Yet as I recall, the prime minister was given the mandate to safeguard the lives of Israeli citizens. He must ensure our future safety. Will he give in to the pressure exerted by advertising agencies? What will he be telling a mother whose children are murdered by a terrorist freed for Shalit? After all, we all know that some of the released prisoners will resume their terror activities.
I remember the days I was certain that “it won’t happen to me.” After all, we live in Haifa, and there are no terror attacks here. I remember the face of my daughter, Tal, in her coffin on March 6, 2003, moments before she was laid to rest. I remember how I stood by her grave, evening came and a slight drizzle followed. I recall the gaze of Minister Sandberg, the government representative at the funeral, yet I do not remember his words from that terrible day where I saw Tal for the last time. I assume that he too spoke about the IDF’s long arm, about our social strength, and about the establishment’s duty to bring justice to the attack’s masterminds.
I’m not concerned about Tal today; even terror cannot harm my Tal. Yet what about my children and family, will they be protected when hundreds of experienced and motivated killers leave prison? I shall never forget the attack mastermind’s interview with British television, filmed in prison, where he bragged that he will not serve his full term and will be released earlier.
After five years, no argument has been raised in favor or against the swap, which threatens the lives of Israeli citizens. The facts are on the ground, and questions that have remained unanswered mark the failure of security forces, who have not been able to locate and release Gilad.
Through wise thinking, without emotional caprices, we must prompt the enemy to release Shalit without capitulating to its humiliating demands. Israel must make it clear that only one terrorist shall be released for Shalit. With a heavy heart, I am willing to see the despicable man who planned my daughter’s murder and bragged in the interview go free. Releasing one terrorist, without capitulating, will prevent bloodshed, murders and abductions, sparing the lives of many Israelis.
Ron Kehrmann is the father of Tal, who was murdered in the terror attack on bus route 37 in Haifa, in March 2003
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