By Jenni Frazer
October 12, 2011
Within hours of the news breaking that a deal has been done to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, the debate about whether it is proper to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for the sake of one Israeli soldier has re-erupted.
Israel has always held to the tenet that it will do anything and pay a very high price for its citizens, something it has demonstrated over and over again. Those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists are, understandably, unhappy about the swap: a former rabbi in the IDF has warned today that those who are being released will slide back into their old haunts and habits immediately, the better to wreak further havoc on Israel.
I was very struck by the comment on one website in which someone wrote that he did not know how the Shalit family would live with themselves when the next inevitable act of terrorism was committed by someone who had been released so that their son could be free. But who can judge the Shalit family in that way? Who can imagine the pain and suffering undergone by the family in the last five years? And who among us can comprehend the lonely, frightening situation of Gilad himself, never knowing if the next knock on the door was someone coming to kill him?
There is no right and wrong answer to this agony, except to be grateful that Gilad Shalit's long nightmare may indeed be coming to an end. May such a nightmare not be repeated by any other Israeli soldier.