By Jennifer Lipman
October 18, 2011
When Gilad Shalit was captured, most of us didn't have Facebook. There was no Twitter, no iPhone and certainly no iPad.
Barack Obama was still a relatively unknown freshman senator from Illinois and Tony Blair was running this country. The economy hadn't collapsed just yet, Osama bin Laden was nowhere to be found. Newspaper websites were free to browse. The West Wing was still on air in Britain.
While Gilad was in captivity - with almost no word from Hamas about his welfare - his peers were moving on with their lives. They were finishing their army service, going off to see the world. They were starting their studies, falling in love, perhaps even having children.
But still, Gilad Shalit was not home.
Objectively speaking, the prisoner swap deal Israel has accepted is lunacy. More than 1,000 prisoners - a number of whom were serving life sentences for brutal and bloody terrorist atrocities - for one man?
But as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, "Israel doesn't abandon its soldiers." It's a basic principle of Israeli society and it's not about pride, it's about serving the people as the people serve the country.
Gilad may be one individual in a country full of fresh-faced soldiers. But that's the point.
He was no mighty fighter off to face his enemies. He was a 19-year-old doing his duty and he could have been any fresh-faced soldier. He could have been any Israeli teenager, male or female.
Is it logical for Israel to sacrifice so much for one soldier? With so much at stake? Of course not. Is it right? Absolutely.