Daily Israel Report

Former IDF Chief: 'I Failed' to Find Gilad Shalit

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told an academic audience Wednesday he had “failed” to find kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 5/25/2011, 5:53 PM / Last Update: 5/25/2011, 10:23 PM

Flash 90 / archive

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told an academic audience Wednesday that he had “failed” in his task of finding kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

The young staff sergeant has been held hostage since June 2006 when he was abducted from an IDF outpost near the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza.

Shalit was kidnapped by members of Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Army of Islam terrorist groups. The latter, headed by the Doghmush clan, has been linked to the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which has infiltrated Gaza.

Ashkenazi explained during an address at a business forum at Bar Ilan University, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate, that Hamas is hiding the young soldier in a way “that makes it almost impossible” for the IDF to find him.

“We do not know where he is,” Ashkenazi said.

“It must be admitted that we cannot use military force to release Shalit... It is my dream to see a helicopter landing at the Erez Crossing with [him] and I phone his parents to inform him that we have freed him,” Ashkenazi confided. 

The former IDF chief said that if a military option could not be found to free the captive soldier, then Israel would have to admit that "a reasonable price" would have to be paid.