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Tag: Freedom

An Idea for Getting Gilad Shalit Out of Hamas Hell

If you read this blog religiously, or even secularly but often, then you may have noticed that I don’t cover the Gilad Shalit issue all that often. I don’t give updates, and I generally avoid commenting on the topic. There is a reason for this. I assume, and rightly I believe, that the government of Israel does not need any pressure in order to push a deal through for Shalit. In fact, any pressure exerted by any “Free Gilad” campaign is counterproductive and irresponsible.

giladWhen someone has something you very much want, and you have to pay for it dearly, then to have your friends badger you about making a deal to get it just ups the price. The other side sees you are under pressure, and feels it can increase its demands.

Who are the Free Gilad troupe protesting? More precisely, WHAT are they protesting when they march for Gilad’s release? Are they assuming that the sitting government would rather he sit in his hellhole in Gaza?

The force of their protests is quite Orwellian actually. They say they want Gilad’s release, as if anyone in Israel doesn’t. I say, though they want Gilad’s release, that’s not really what they’re protesting. They’re not rallying against Hamas to free him, as if Haniyeh and Zahar cared at all what the Jews want.

What they’re really doing is protesting the government’s reluctance to release murderers. What they really want is the release of terrorists, nothing else. I’m not blaming them for this. But I am saying that if they want this, then they should be brave and say it, out loud, if that’s what they really believe is best. Stop chanting “Free Gilad” as if you’re talking to Hamas, and start chanting “Free the Murderers!” Use the correct language and picket the Prime Minister’s residence with signs that say “Bibi – release murderers NOW!” Granted, it would look odd and arguably embarrassing. But that’s precisely the point. They don’t want to say what they actually want, because what they really want scares them. They’d rather mask it in language that everyone can agree with but few truly understand. That is, “Free Gilad“.

I’m willing to bet that if this government attempted a rescue operation and Gilad was heaven forbid killed, these groups would protest the incompetency of the government, claiming that “wasn’t what they meant” when they chanted “Free Gilad!” I say, if it’s not what you mean, make it clear starting now. Chant in favor of releasing 1,000 murderers, and then at least you are being honest with yourselves and with us.

But here’s my idea. It was reported today in several papers that Israel does indeed know exactly where Shalit is being held. The problem is, the building is surrounded with explosives that will be detonated by remote if soldiers get too close. Now, of course I haven’t worked out a whole plan by any means. But part of what needs to be done in a possible rescue attempt would be to shoot an electromagnetic pulse that would shut down any electronic transmissions in the area, making remote detonation impossible.

They’d have to clear the area of as many terrorists as possible beforehand, and it wouldn’t be easy. I’m willing to admit that it would probably fail. But I think it would be smarter than releasing 1,000 terrorists around Palestinian election time to ensure a Hamas victory and trigger a third intifada, with many more kidnappings in the cards.

It was a Good Speech

Like many millions around the globe, I, too, watched the inauguration ceremony yesterday. Everyone wants to see history in the making, and this was certainly one of those moments.

First of all, I enjoyed the artistic portion of the ceremony. Aretha Franklin’s hat was cute and very amusing. The musical piece by Johan Williams was magnificent and quite inspiring. And Elizabeth Alexander’s poem was a bit too much after Obama’s long speech. However, the benediction by Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery was more than heartwarming.

Above all, I was honestly touched to see Michelle herself holding the Bible as Obama took his oath. Although it is a long tradition by now, I felt as though I’m watching an intimate moment between the two.

And now to the Inaugural Address itself…

I was very glad to see it lacks the “populistic” tone Obama’s speeches had used to invoke during the campaign trail. In contrast, the Inauguration Speech was a very serious and detailed declaration of intentions. At some points, it was even academic in nature. No catch phrases, but a lot of content; a complex viewpoint, and a mature approach to the tasks ahead.

These are the parts that have caught my attention:

A message of pragmatism:

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.

A message of unity:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

A message of pride:

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.

A message of conciliation:

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

A message of innovation and continuity:

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old.

A message of commitment and restraint:

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

A message of hope and optimism:

Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

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