Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gilad Shalit - 5 Years in Captivity

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the capture of Gilad Shalit, a then 19 year old soldier who was abducted by Hamas in an attack on an Israeli outpost through use of a tunnel. For five years, Gilad has been held captive by Hamas who has demanded the release of over 1,000 convicted and suspected terrorists, including some convicted of murder, for Gilad’s release. Everyone in Israel knows the name Gilad Shalit and suffers along with his immediate family, as we all pray for his release.
Israel’s reaction to the terrible situation of having a captive soldier in enemy hands, brings to light the humanity and value of human life that Israel lives by. The fact that negotiations for one soldier are not whether 1,000 terrorists will be released for his freedom, but which terrorists the country can release is a testament to our sanctification of life.
In preparation for my Birthright Israel trip, I prepared a presentation that illustrated the dilemmas and challenges faced by the government and Israeli society with regards to a captive soldier. The presentation was used in what I thought was a very powerful discussion session between our participants and soldiers that joined our group. After presenting the presentation to my group, I shared the presentation with several friends leading Birthright trips. Over the weekend, it dawned on me that these ideas should not be shared only with Birthright participants, but should be discussed by everyone who cares for Israel. As a result, I have uploaded the presentation here and encourage you to page through, read and or share this material with others. This presentation was largely inspired by a speech I listened to by Dr. Daniel Gordis presented at Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim (my families synagogue in Baltimore). Dr. Gordis’ speech titled “Not a Moment’s Regret: Reflections of an Unabashed Zionist” is inspiring and a very worthwhile listen.
Please keep Gilad Shalit in your thoughts and prayers, and may we soon celebrate the joyous day of his return to Israel.

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