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Information spreads like wildfire. “Gilad Shalit is home,” my friend e-mailed me happily as soon as he heard the news. He isn’t Jewish or a even a Zionist, but the kidnapping of someone our age moved him enough to track the case.
“I know this is something that’s weighed on you. It must be good to have it off,” he wrote. And he was right. A load had been lifted off my shoulders.
“Gilad Shalit is home,” my friends and I squealed as we hugged each other, tears streaming down our faces. We couldn’t believe it was happening; we felt like we were in a wonderful dream. Yet as we watched on the Internet as events unfolded, we realized the reality was that our dreams had come true.
After 1,940 days, Gilad Shalit is home and I am so grateful. Even though he shows signs of malnutrition and lack of sunlight, even if he looks gaunt and painfully pale, he is home to the family that loves him, that waited for him, that never gave up on him. It is a moment I will never forget.
Somewhere in Gaza, a young lady my age was celebrating the release of Ahlam Tamimi. She likely blogged about it, hugging friends and talking about how this was a moment she would never forget, how she had pined for her hero’s freedom. Her heart was also full of joy and she felt like this was a victory for everything she lives for.
I remember how on the anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping I would sit on my porch and think of all the luxuries I took for granted – freedom, family, friends – and my heart would break for him.
On the day he was finally freed I knew I would wake up the next morning in my own bed and see my family and talk to my friends and travel as I wish. But the knowledge was sweetened by the awareness that Gilad finally would be sharing those same privileges.
I had every confidence the aforementioned young lady was thinking the same about her hero.
Ahlam Tamimi and Gilad Shalit have two things in common. Both were released on the same day. Both their lives changed when they were twenty years old. The difference is, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped while trying to protect his fellow Israelis. Ahlam Tamimi was arrested for collaborating in the murder of fifteen people – eight of them children, including two under the age of six.
Gilad went home to be with his family, to recover from his terrible ordeal. He showed no bitterness for his pain, saying, “I hope this deal will move the peace process forward.” He even wished the released murderers well, “as long as they do not go back to fighting Israel.”
Ahlam, meanwhile, has sworn she will attempt another terrorist attack.
“I’m not sorry for what I did,” she said in an interview in 2006. “I will get out of prison, and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”
Her prediction, chillingly, came true, and who knows what the future holds?
Despite this, I’m happy. I know I should worry about future terrorist attacks by the criminals who were freed. I know I should worry about future kidnappings. We all should. That will come once the euphoria over Gilad abates and Israel returns to the endless war against terror.
The Popular Resistance Committee of Hamas has already vowed “to capture another soldier and cleanse all the Israeli prisons of our prisoners.”
One of the released prisoners has already said, “We shall spare no efforts to liberate the rest of our brothers and sisters. We urge the Al Kassam Brigades of the Hamas military wing to kidnap more soldiers to exchange them for the freedom of our loved ones who are still behind bars.”
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Starting next week, Professor Beres’s column will be on summer hiatus until September. * * * * * In June 1998, Prof. Beres, following publication of an op-ed article in The New York Times, was invited by then-Swiss Ambassador Thomas Borer to present personal testimony before the specially-constituted Swiss Commission on World War II in [...]
Israel is a country that understands security concerns. Many civil rights have been sacrificed in the name of security and Israelis are used to being checked every time they enter a shopping center, a large store or any public building. Americans recently learned that they, too, are subject to many checks on their most private activities.
Without a vision, strategy is impossible. Tactics become farcical.
No one can envy President Obama’s current dilemma over Syria.
His decision to begin arming the Syrian rebels challenging Bashar Assad’s regime drew charges that the rebel forces are driven by jihad movements, particularly al Qaeda. Further, many rebel spokesmen have regularly denounced Israel and suggested that once in power they will end Mr. Assad’s policy of not rocking the boat with Israel. How, then, critics ask, could the president align the U.S. with the rebels?
In a gushing report on the election of Hassan Rohani as Iran’s new president, The New York Times began with this: “In a striking repudiation of the ultraconservatives who wield power in Iran, voters…overwhelmingly elected a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.”
Last month in this space we noted that the New York State Assembly was considering legislation that would prohibit domestic insurers from including on their financial statements investments in companies that engage in investment activities in Iran. These financial statements are relied upon by the state to determine whether the company is solvent and able to pay claims. That bill has since passed the Assembly, but the New York State Senate is balking at passing it as well.
There is no other candidate running for mayor who supports our community’s values as Salgado does.
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then children’s eyes are the window to the Almighty Himself.
Adding Turkey to the list of volatile states would mean even more uncertainty for Israel.
Is there no one who remembers this recent history?
Making Rouhani the president was a brilliant strategic move for Khamene’i.
Noone, least of all me, wants to see any Arab child suffer, God forbid.
The Sanctuary was built with an ezrat nashim, a separate area for women.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
At the end of 2012, I was in Israel and looking out at the Jerusalem night sky. I was filled to the brim with inspiration and decided to challenge myself to become a more educated young woman. Simply put, I was going to read as many books in a year as possible. I’m not sure if that would actually have made a difference in my level of education but it seemed like a fun goal at the time.
Many Jewish people, including myself, avoid Holocaust movies because it is far too painful to watch the dehumanization of those we love. Still, facing what is painful is an important part of life. “Lion of Judah” is not an easy film to watch, but for the next generation it will be a valuable resource for educating children in a world without survivors. More importantly, it is centered on the incredible, Leo Zisman, the Lion of Judah.
Whenever I got praised for an achievement, I feel like I should say that half the praise goes to my parents. Although they can get on my nerves, I am really blessed with a mother and father who have molded and shaped me (by any means necessary) to become a successful human being.
Growing up, I remember my father’s Rosh Hashana ritual. He read the story of Rabi Amnon of Mainz, who had his tongue, hands and legs cut off for refusing to convert to Christianity – for choosing to remain a Jews. I would run away from the table sobbing in terror. Even at the tender age of six, I knew that being Jewish made oneself a member of an endangered species.
Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.
We are forgetting the lessons of the churban Beit HaMikdash, how we were not finished off by Rome, but destroyed ourselves through mindless hatred and zealotry. We bled each other dry through violence and bigotry until we were weak enough for Rome to come in and step all over our broken bodies. Rome did not defeat us – we defeated ourselves.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-time-to-laugh-%e2%80%93-and-to-be-proud/2011/10/26/
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