Garden of Eden: Fourth period belonged to Gilad Shalit

Today, during fourth period, it was announced to the world that Israel’s cabinet was about to vote on an agreement with Hamas that would release Gilad Shalit. How did Hamas and Israel finally see eye to eye? A thousand deadly prisoners will be given in return.


Let’s just state the obvious facts, in case you aren’t up to date.

1. Gilad Shalit was captured on June 25, 2006. We aren’t even sure if he’s still alive.

2. Shalit has a family, who misses him terribly and will do anything to get him back.  They have not been able to visit him and neither has the International Red Cross.  As reported in many Boiling Point stories over the past five years, he has been held in complete isolation and nobody knows where he is.

3. A strong sense of nationalism has swept over Israel over the five years following his capture. Many people want him back, and feel bad for him because he was out serving his country when he was captured.

4. The result of his release could possibly end with thousands more murdered by these same terrorists.


Now to the big picture: is it fair? Is it fair that if we don’t agree to this deal, that Shalit will have to remain and possibly be tortured for months or years or decades to come? On the other hand, is it fair of Shalit’s family and supporters to ask for him if his release could result in mass terror? And finally, how did we come to live in a world where a man has to bargain for his life and freedom with the freedom of convicted murderers? Isn’t that kind of crazy?


“Here we see the basic dilemmas between the individual and the collective, and we see victim pitted against victim,” writes Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, who teaches Political Psychology at Tel Aviv University.  “Gilad Shalit is a victim who was violently kidnapped, in a way that Israelis do not consider to be a normative means of struggle. Therefore, one side says, he should be returned at any price. But the families of those killed in terrorist attacks and the people who were wounded in those attacks are victims, too, and they say that no price should be paid to the murderers. And it is truly a dilemma, because no side is right, and no side is wrong.”


How do we save Shalit? How do we make it so “victim pitted against victim” never happens again? Do we break off from society, and make a new one, so this never happens again? Do we mould our newfound society into a fair utopia, where everyone’s happy? Does this seem like too much of a cop out?


I don’t have the answers, and unfortunately, no one will, until the end of time. We can still all guess and try to achieve the answers, as long as we put our minds to it. Speaking of minds– what do you think about it?