As a new immigrant to Israel about to enter the army and living in Sderot, I have some questions.
As an oleh chadash (new immigrant) that came to land of the Jewish people not due to persecution or suffering but because of deep-rooted beliefs in Zionism, like many I have a big problem with all the latest discussions over Gilad Shalit.
As an oleh chadash that has recently received a profile score of 97 to serve my mandatory army service in a combat unit, and as an oleh chadash that for the past year has lived in the Gaza border city of Sderot I have an enormous problem with the latest discussions over Gilad Shalit.
I do not hold some seat in the government with some fancy title but I know what is going on now is wrong and it pains me to watch it happen.
Why is the discussion during the past week about how many terrorists we are going to give Hamas, Fatah, and the PA as a whole for Gilad's return? Why isn't the discussion about how we are going to make Hamas pay a huge price for the kidnapping of Gilad or about a plan to retrieve him?
Because we simply have entered into the Arabs' shuk of hostage negotiating they have already declared a victory that will only empower them to kidnap more soldiers. It is laughable if one believes that they care if they get back 400, 1000, 980 or even 5 of their terrorists because they are in no way lacking numbers, and moreover as they use their own sons and daughters as human shields they clearly don't value the lives of those they are receiving.
After a 21 day operation inside the Gaza Strip and we didn't see Gilad back home, and now with our government, providing our enemies with the future opportunities to kidnap more of our sons and brothers- what am I supposed to think as someone soon entering the Israeli Defense Forces for ideological reasons when I know that my homeland won't rescue me and will minimally take over 3 years to trade me only at the cost of future capture of others like me?
As someone living in Sderot since Operation Cast Lead it is hard to believe that this cowardly surrender to our enemies will bring anything but more missiles to more cities in Israel. It is awing to me when even the Defense Minister Ehud Barak has accepted the reality of rockets in our lives when last week in Sderot he described the situation as quiet. Friday before Shabbat we surpassed a count of 280 qassams, mortars and grads fired since Operation Cast Lead- apparently an acceptable amount to our elected leaders.
So what am I supposed to think as someone who lives in Sderot for the same ideological reasons that I have come to my homeland and will serve in our army, when I know our government is giving our enemies the opportunity to fire more missiles at me and others like me?
Can we really not get Gilad back with our infamous intelligence sources, stealth, and military training? Or has our government already sacrificed him and others to be so that they can get political points with all the world on-lookers and as a result maybe Bibi can also get a handout Nobel Peace Prize?
While all of this is happening and is considered a movement toward a greater peace deal, are we really supposed to believe it is all because of that scary hot-topic term "settlements." Sderot, Ashkelon, and Beersheva are all targets of missile attacks that are not considered "settlements" by our administration or the Obama led American administration. Gilad Shalit was born in Nahariya and grew up in Mitzpe Hila, both of which are not "settlements." So how can disallowing the growth of the Jewish nation or what George Mitchell and Barack Obama deem illegal settlement building really help bring Gilad home, stop the future capture of Israelis, and stop missiles from being fired at Israelis?
I do not intend to be facetious in writing all these questions but I am truly asking. As an oleh chadash soon entering the IDF and living in Sderot, what I am observing baffles me and leaves me with a load of questions.
Jacob Shrybman is a writer for the Sderot Media Center.