Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Saving Corporal Gilad.

Driving to work the other day (at an ungodly early hour), I heard a Galei Tzahal radio interview with the Itamar settlement resident, Miriam Asheri -- mother of Eliyahu, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists last week.
Today is the final day they are sitting shiva for Eliyahu, and she was interviewed for the entire country to hear.

Here are a few lines from the interview that I recall by heart.

Interviewer: Shalom Miriam Asheri.

Miriam: I'm not really allowed to say "shalom" since I'm still sitting shiva...but yes, shalom...

Interviewer: There have been many complaints heard towards the Israeli people, government, towards the IDF and even towards the media -- that your son's abduction wasn't treated as seriously as that of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Do you agree?

Miriam: [very emphatically] Not at all...not in the slightest...I only have words of praise for the IDF and ministry of defense for all their efforts to track down my Eliyahu. Granted, we didn't know at the time that there wasn't anything to do [Jameel: since he was murdered almost immediately after his abduction] -- but the IDF...the army came to our house, and kept us updated, and soldiers came and officers and ministers...and they did everything they could.

I want you to know, that it's an honor and privilege to be part of such a wonderful country...and army...the IDF...that were so wonderful to us. This is a country that cares, and army of warriors that spend night and day defending Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. I'm almost feel not worthy to be counted among such a lofty nation and righteous army...

Interviewer: Right now, the Shalit family is going through a similar situation as you were going through last week -- do you have any message for them?

Miriam: The IDF knows exactly what needs to be done. As difficult as it is for the Shalit family, they need to realize that their suffering is a personal one, while the IDF and security forces are working to defend the entire country. I pray that Gilad come home safely, but if Israel negotiates with terrorists, if Israel withdraws, if Israel runs away, if Israel capitulates...then it will only bring about more terrorism, more kidnappings...and more death. It is forbidden to capitulate...we can not capitulate.
Her voice reverberated in my head...this woman is sitting shiva for her son, murdered last week...and she has nothing but praise for the IDF, to the point that it was almost embarrassing listening to her on the radio as she heaped praise and accolades on the IDF, Israel and the Jewish people...and then she says in a very calculated voice, that capitulation will lead to more terrorism.

Last night, my wife watched one of the roundtable political shows on TV (usually screaming matches), yet the tone was calm for this particular segment. Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed and was asked the following:
Interviewer: Some say that the entire raid of Entebbe was not worth it because of the death of Yoni Netanyahu. Do you agree? It was your brother...

Bibi: That's a very difficult question...and we miss him terribly, but there's the statement, "Whoever saves one life from Israel -- it is as if he saved an entire world". At the raid of Entebbe, because of that operation over 100 people were saved. That's 100 worlds...that were saved because of Yoni.

Interviewer: So you agree that Israel should not negotiate with terrorists over the release of Gilad Shalit?

Bibi: I'm not 99% certain, I'm 100% certain -- and we will continue to support Olmert 100% -- as long as he does not negotiate with terrorists.

Interviewer: And if you were prime minister now, and it was your son who was held hostage instead of Gilad wouldn't negotiate and do everything to get your son back?

Bibi: If it were me in that situation, I would remove myself from the decision making process because you cannot negotiate with terrorists, and I wouldn't be objective.

Terrorism is a terrible situation -- a plague which has infected most of the free world today. Just this morning, there were roadblocks all over the country, the police, IDF and MDA were all on high alert. The army's information about the terror threat was so precise, that I can't even blog about it -- so as not to compromise their sources. (And the terrorist was just caught near Ariel!)

Hearing the remarkable message from Miriam Asheri -- as she looks at the big picture (as a private civilian), and hearing the message from Netanyahu that one cannot negotiate with terrorists for the good of the entire people, for the future safety of the country -- I hope and pray the government and IDF stay resolute in their position of no negotiations and manage to return Gilad Shalit home safely.

Who are like you the people of Israel?

?מי כעמך ישראל

Please continue to keep Gilad ben Aviva in your prayers.

** (Excerpted from the Afterword of The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu by Ma'ariv Publication -- Yoni's Last Days -- The Raid at Entebbe - Page 3): Matan vilnai, the head of the paratrooper contingent in the raid, went over to the hostages’ plane. “I saw Yoni’s body lying in the lane, wrapped in one of those awful aluminum blankets the doctors use,” says Matan. “I saw the hostages completely stunned, shadows of men. They were very depressed. And what hit me then was a kind of feeling that was, for an army man like myself, totally illogical: that if Yoni was dead, then the whole thing wasn’t worth it.”

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


kasamba said...

Great post.
When will all this pain end?

Oleh Yahshan said...

Great post,
I wish there were more people in this country who thought like her.

It is also interesting that Bibi would say what he did. I agree totally. I hope that just as entebbe proved to those terrorists that Kidnapping Planes is not worth it, this operation will prove that kidnapping Israelis is not worth it either!

פייגא דבורה said...

That honestly changed my perspective. Thank you!

YMedad said...

Let us not forget Yonatan Gefen (Aviv's father; cousin to the Dayan family) who said just after these elections on Channel Two's Mishal Cham program that "Bibi was the wrong brother to have been left alive".

here, item no. 4:

and here:

Shtender said...

Great post.
Her courage is emotinally inspiring.

The back of the hill said...

I can remember the raid on Entebbe.

Specifically, I can remember the joy of my father and a few of his colleagues for days after the news broke.

Even today, Entebbe marks a moral victory highwatermark.


What everybody who criticizes the current IDF actions in Gaza tend to overlook is that the Palestinians have the power to bring the entire thing to a halt. All they have to do is one simple little act: release Gilad Shalit.

I wonder what that says about the people who are holding him.

Jerusalemcop said...

great post Jameel.

I only read it now, but I still get chills thinking about the courage we as jews need to show each and every day no matter what has happened.


the sabra said...

Unbelievable woman. May G-d continue to give her (and her family) the necessary strength.

Interesting what Bibi said.

Sigh. I can't wait for all this to be over.

bec said...

i have always supported bibi. he's right, negotiating with terrorists is absolutely ridiculous. releasing hundreds of "palestinian" criminals who want nothing more than to obliterate israel cannot be allowed. i'm not saying we should sacrifice our people, not at all. we need to take a stand (like it seems like we're doing at this point, finally) and make these people realize that we're serious. we've done it before. we did it as soon as we obtained statehood. we did it in the warsaw ghetto. we did it at masada....we need to stand up to our enemies and defend our fellow jews, not negotiate with people who would treat us with all the compassion that they would allow a cockroach on a kitchen wall. oh! i take that back. they'd probably be more compassionate to the cockroach.
in all seriousness, we all mourn the loss of eliyahu asheri and pray for the return of gilad, and pray that this should never happen again.

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