The circumstances were completely different, yet the embrace was the same: A fatherly embrace.
As opposed to Ehud Barak, who made do with an overly official handshake with Gilad and a few minutes later chose to open his remarks to the media by taking a needless (and undeserved) jab at the media, and as opposed to kind Army Chief Benny Gantz, who fired three short sentences at Gilad like a robot (including the meaningless promise that “everything will be alright,”) Netanyahu was truly there.
The prime minister did not hide behind robotic tendencies or behind a wall of irony. He did not salute Gilad back when the returning soldier saluted. He simply looked at him with deep meaning, like a father proud of his son, and then embraced him.
We must keep the following in mind: The prime minister took a tough decision, which contradicted the views of many members of Netanyahu’s natural camp. Moreover, the PM made the decision during a period where the public pressure to bring Gilad back was at its lowest level since the abduction.
We need brave leaders
Netanyahu did it because he believed it was the right moment, and there shall be no other. He did it because Hamas compromised. And he did it because in his new version, in his second tenure in office, Netanyahu is a level-headed, pragmatic leader. And yes, he is also fatherly.
In addition to the above, is it ok to lavish some kind words on Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe Ya’alon? These two ministers knew that there was a huge majority in favor of the Shalit deal in the government, yet despite this, and despite realizing that their vote flies in the face of the national mood, they voted against the swap.
They did it for principled reasons, without showing impassioned zeal, and without pushing their way to every microphone to explain their views. They simply voted according to what their conscience dictated and then headed home to be moved by Gilad’s release.
The State of Israel, given its sensitive situation, does not need acquiescent ministers who make their decisions in line with the current mood; we do need brave leaders like Lieberman and Ya’alon who go with what they believe in.
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