Gilad - is it worth it?

I heard the news last Tuesday at a monthly learning session we run in a local pub. Two excited participants arrived declaring; Gilad is going to be released! After five years and four months and the untold torture his family must have suffered, this was a great reason to raise a toast and celebrate.
But Gilad's release came at a cost. 1027 prisoners released. Over the weekend I have been bombarded by petitions, equally as heart wrenching as those of Gilad's parents, asking us to stop the release of their childrens' murderers. As with all things in this conflict, nothing is ever simple. Tweeters and facebook have provided a fascinating responce to all of this, with people sitting on both sides of the fence.
As the Reform Judaism statement on his release says redeeming a captive is an incredibly precious mitzvah, and one which emphasises the importance in Judaism of saving even one human life, and the lengths to which Israel can be willing to go to do so. These issues have been debated before, as discussed here. Yet many fear this release of so many could lead to further loss of life. Others see those in Gaza and the West bank as all imprisoned and trapped behind check points.
I was particularly touched by a prayer on the release published by the Masorti movement. It thanks God for Shalit's release, and prays that no harm will come from it. I would, perhaps, add to the prayer, a hope that this is the beginning of more negotiations, dialogue, and returning home of soldiers all over the world, but particularly in Israel and Palestine, so that children will never be sent into the battlefield again, and the anguish of parents of children murdered and captive will be a thing of the past.
As we come to the close of sukkot, and acknowledge we are all vulnerable, all fallible, we pray that God will spread a Sukkah of Peace over all of us, over all the world, and over the future of humanity.


  1. Gilad is back home in the bosom of his family in his homeland where he belongs. That is cause for celebration full stop. Israel has generously released more than 1,027 Palestinian prisoners - 1,027 opportunites to demonstrate to the world that terror is not the answer to achieving a lasting peace. Jim


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