Ledger Editorial Op-Ed Columns Opinion

Gilad Shalit: Four years a captive

By N. Richard Greenfield, a Ledger Editorial

“Israel’s willingness to do anything to bring a soldier home is laudable, it expresses higher humane values as well as true religious ones, but it is also inherently self-destructive. …To treat every soldier as a civilian, is to preemptively surrender any conflict. To make every soldier into a negotiating counter for …terrorists, only insures further attacks against IDF soldiers.” From the Sultan Knish blog, September 2009.

The Ledger has consistently tried to keep our community aware of Gilad Shalit’s cruel captivity. Shalit was kidnapped four years ago this week and has not been allowed any communications with the outside world. Not allowing a visitation by an international intermediary like the Red Cross is nothing short of barbaric, which is a word that accurately characterizes Hamas’ treatment of Shalit and other Israelis who fall into their hands.
Our continued focus on Shalit is not to urge the Israeli government to do something that is not in Israel’s best interests. Despite U.S. State Department pressures, Israel must keep the safety of her people foremost in her mind and there is every evidence that a release of a large number of terrorist prisoners would endanger Israeli citizens for decades to come. But being continually aware of Shalit’s fate is something we must do, and urging our own government to pressure Hamas to act humanely is a role available to us. At the very least we must make sure Hamas knows that it will be held accountable for their actions towards Shalit.
But there is something else that we need to do now.
Our State Department and the Obama Administration now give Hamas a $900 million per year aid package. This number has just been increased by $400 million so that America subsidizes Shalit’s jailers with $1.3 billion per year. In the words of a posting on LATimes.com, “Taxation for Islamization, again. $400 million more of your taxpayer dollars wasted on those who teach their children to hate America.” Obama pledges $400 million for Palestinians – latimes.com.
Even harder to believe is that this close to 50% increase in aid dollars was done immediately after the Flotilla incident took place, in which Hamas affiliated groups exhibited their barbarity for all the world to see. When announcing the increased aid for Hamas, President Obama also urged Israel to loosen up its blockade. We are dismayed and can only comment that rewarding bad behavior is a strategy that is alive and well inside this Washington administration. We can and should act.
Letting Congress know that American funds ought not be used to re-arm a terrorist state and that not another dime should be made available until Shalit is a free man is an important task and needs your participation. StandWithUs is one of several organizations who have taken on the responsibility for directing this task. Details are on their website and are also in this week’s Ledger.
Another place we can all do something is in our own communities. In our synagogues. There is a prayer for the captive and it would seem it is something that could be recited every week until Galid Shalit comes home.


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