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      A Soldier’s Mother
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      One mother’s journey through the Israeli army with her sons

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      Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.

      Links to the Author's blogs:

      Tammuz 15, 5769, 7/7/2009

      A Soldier Calls - Who Will Answer?


      I wanted to slowly bring you all up to date on my journey as a soldier's mother. It began 2 years ago and I've already posted many of my experiences during those first few weeks. But, as I travel back, we are still moving forward and so today, I want to write about something else and then in the next few posts, complete my look backwards.

      In the last few weeks, as Gilad Shalit approached the third anniversary in captivity, my thoughts and prayers have focused on him. I have not allowed myself, except for brief slips, to imagine myself in Aviva Shalit's position. I doubt I could handle it with such grace. I'm sure she is angry at times, how could she not be?

      On the 3rd anniversary, many people on Twitter tried to get Gilad's name to the top of the Trends Tracking count. We reached 3rd place - which I believed to be both symbolic...as it was Gilad's third anniversary, and a success.
      As that day approaced, Israel released a Hamas leader and I wondered at our government's stupidity. Yes, we have a justice system that requires a trial, a sentence and, at the end of that sentence, release from prison. But what of Gilad's sentence? When does his release come?

      It is, to my mind, so very western of us, so very democratic, that we release a Hamas terrorist on a specific day, no matter what he promises to do in the future, no matter what Hamas does all around. The problem, of course, is that we aren't in the west, are we? We don't live among democracies who will honor a trial and a sentence; nor do we live amidst societies who honor life and care about the suffering of others.

      Today's news of the release of a second Hamas leader shouts into the darkness that surrounds the Gilad Shalit situation. But it is a mockery, a sham, an embarrassment. Who will answer? Who will explain the logic of releasing two Hamas leaders while an innocent Israeli boy remains in isolation from his family.

      Gilad will come home...only when the government and the world are serious enough, only when they care enough to demand it in terms that will force Hamas to release him. When we release Hamas leaders, we send Hamas a clear message - sure, keep your son; that's fine. When we open the crossings, allow fuel and electricity - we show them what fools we are.

      Gilad is calling out to us. If we answer, how we answer will determine when he comes home.