The news regarding Gilad Shalit's upcoming release is cause for celebration for the Shalit family, but grievous news for the state of Israel.
Following Gilad's release, the Shalits can feel boundless happiness. This is their right, to delight as much as they possibly can. They are human, and their desire for their child's release from captivity supersedes any other consideration. Any one of us would have acted the same in their place; perhaps we would even have acted more aggressively in our struggle for his release.
However, this is not a day of happiness and joy for the country. It is, in essence, a day of grief for the state of Israel. It is possibly the most dramatic example of two opposing and extreme opposites existing together as a result of the same event: joy and sadness in the life of a people.
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On one hand, releasing 1,027 terrorist prisoners in exchange for one Israeli shows how much the country is willing to pay for the release of a captive soldier. On the other hand, the price of this liberation is terrible for us as a society. We have strengthened one of our toughest enemies, Hamas, and we have weakened the Palestinian Authority, with whom we could perhaps have conducted negotiations for a peace agreement. With our own hands, we have delivered a death sentence to those still-unknown Israelis who will be murdered in the future by the terrorists we are now releasing.
Just so we don't have any illusions about this situation: we all know deep down that it is unavoidable. We have failed in our struggle against terror. We have proved that the capture of one soldier is enough to thwart years of effort in the struggle against terrorism. We have undone years of hard work and encouraged terrorist groups to abduct more soldiers.
Yet another question arises as well: How will we behave in the future if indeed they abduct another of our soldiers? What will we say to the family of the next captured soldier with respect to what price we are willing to pay for his release?
The price was set by the 1985 Jibril Agreement [in which 1,150 security prisoners were released in exchange for three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon], but since then it has only risen. We have deeply hurt those families whose loved ones were murdered by the terrorists now slated for release. Soon, they will see their loved ones' killers waving the victory sign with their fingers.
Above all, those who should not celebrate are the people who demonstrated and marched in order to pressure the state of Israel and its leaders to release Gilad at any cost. They are responsible for the fact that the process of releasing Shalit took over five years and for the high price of his release. Please, refrain from celebrating or reveling in this victory, the result of pressure on the prime minister.
The state of Israel and the public must greet the Shalit deal with self-restraint and maturity. We must allow the family to enjoy its happiness, but let's not turn it into a national victory or achievement. We must moderate the media celebration - we have nothing to celebrate. Let's leave the celebrating to the Shalit family and its close friends only.
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