Terror attack in Sbarro
Terror attack in Sbarro Israel news photo: Flash 90

Well-known journalist Kalman Libeskind of Maariv urged Israelis on Tuesday not to turn Gilad Shalit’s homecoming into a holiday.

“My first instinct, following the approval of the Shalit deal, was to imitate King David,” Libeskind wrote in his blog. “As long as something could be done to prevent the catastrophe, to prevent the collapse of the policies endorsed by the State of Israel in its war against terrorism all these years, you had to do it. Pray, persuade, hope. But once the decree fell, it is doubtful whether there was any point to all this, because the train was on its way. And this day is a day of joy at the return of Gilad Shalit to his family.”

“And yet, I have one little request,” he added. “Let’s not make this a day of dancing in the streets, such as the dancing we saw on the night the government approved the deal. Let’s give up on opening bottles of champagne such as the ones the Shalit activists plan to rejoice with today. Let’s not forget that even if our hearts are with the Shalit family who are celebrating the return of their son, this is a day of humiliation and great defeat. A defeat for the army whose soldier was kidnapped by terrorists. A defeat for the government of Israel who had to act in a way that is opposite from the way it believed all these years. A defeat for our justice system whose judgments and decisions have become non-binding recommendations.”

“Even those who support the deal need to understand that this day would be better if it is devoted to self-examination, a mini Yom Kippur,” wrote Libeskind. “That this is not a day of smiles. Besides the Shalit family, which is reunited with its son, there are hundreds of families whose loved ones will never return. Women, babies who were burned, slaughtered and butchered, and that the State of Israel, in the euphoria of the Shalit deal, forgot them this week. Families that no one bothered to update as to what is going on. Orphans who had to surf the internet to find that their parents’ killer is going home, and that nobody thought of a better way to tell them about it.”

“Today, when I see Gilad Shalit reunited at last with his parents and siblings,” he wrote, “as the prayer we made for his well-being in the last five years comes true, my heart will be with them. With the orphans, the widows, with the bereaved parents. With the thousands of family members of our 569 brothers and sisters, who were the victims of Arab terrorism.”

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