The news spread like wildfire as the announcement was made this morning by the Israeli cabinet, a deal has been reached with Hamas and 25-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may at last taste freedom. The cost? Lots of convicted Palestinian prisoners. Jewish organizations here and in the United States have sounded off, speculating on the effect setting more than 1,000 known terrorists loose may have on Israeli society and future dealings with Hamas.
Speaking on behalf of students on Canadian campuses, Etai Hilzenrat, Israel Affairs Chair of the Canadian Federaion of Jewish Students (CFJS) issued the following statement:
“Gilad has been imprisoned in Gaza for over five years, since he was 19 years old. Throughout this time, the Hamas terrorist group has denied him contact with his family, the Israeli government, and all international human-rights organizations.
“Jewish and pro-Israel students across Canada are overjoyed by the news of Gilad’s expected release. We are especially happy for his parents, Aviva and Noam, his siblings, Yoel and Hadas, his grandfather Tzvi, and the many Israelis who have come to see Gilad as part of their own family.
“The news of Gilad’s impending release is particularly uplifting at the start of this new Jewish year. The cost to Israel, nonetheless, is immense – the release of 1,000 prisoners, many of whom are responsible for killing and terrorizing Israeli civilians. The government of Israel has once again demonstrated its commitment to stand behind each and every Israeli, particularly the soldiers who serve and protect their homeland.
“After far too long, it is truly cause for celebration that Gilad is coming home”.
While the government of Israel may be reuniting one family at long last, could the flip side of the bargain be a new Hamas tactic designed to bring many of its own "soldiers" back to the front lines to l renew its efforts of bringing about Israel's destruction? All we can do is wait and see.