Yesterday Noam Shalit, father of the kidnapped soldier Gilad, passed a harsh critique of the government’s recent actions. Shalit is pointing a blaming finger at the Prime Minister Ehud Olment for not taking instant initiatives to release his son from Hamas captivity. According to Shalit, his son is paying the price for Olmert’s hesitation.
“I ask the prime minister, who said he would personally address the issue of the kidnapped soldiers, why out of the entire chain of command that is linked to the kidnapping fiasco should Corporal Gilad Shalit be the only one to pay the price?”, said Shalit.
Olmert failed to convince Gilad’s family that he is doing everything in his power to rescue Gilad Shalit. If the public believes that the government has forsaken the kidnapped soldiers, it will hurt the public support of the government’s actions, and will also hurt the motivation of the soldiers and those who are about to be enlisted. The morale has already been seriously damaged following the consequences of the second Lebanon war.
It is safe to say that almost every Israeli soldier is ready to put his or her life at risk, but only if the soldier knows the government will do its utmost in case something terrible happens. Olmert must work harder to gain the family’s trust. Olmert has complained that he is an unpopular prime minister. But to become a popular leader he must become a leader first, and to do that Olmert has to work harder to gain the public trust. In the meantime, he is not likely to win a popularity contest just yet.