It was sad in the tent over Rosh Hashanah, and it'll be sadder still on Friday as Yom Kippur begins. Our pledges to free Gilad Shalit have come to naught. The state has abandoned him.
We may have thought of him while reading the Rosh Hashanah Torah portion about the binding of Isaac. But the Abraham of old was willing to surrender his beloved only son, while the Abrahams of today seem content to sacrifice "every mother's son."
Ministers came and went throughout the holiday, stopping for a moment to acknowledge Shalit's parents. President Shimon Peres asked them to take a break until after the holidays, that they needed some rest.
The prime minister also asked nicely, noting that the struggle can always be returned to. In other words, "get out of our faces, you nudniks, and let us all celebrate unimpeded." Even prime ministers apparently deserve a bit of rest during the holiday season.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu were magnanimous enough to ask the Shalits not to involve their own children in the Shalits' just, but unnecessary fight. The royal couple even criticized the Shalits' reference to the Netanyahus' soldier son in speeches and declarations, when they asked the prime minister what he would do if it were his son. No one dared call the Netanyahus out on their comments, but something nonetheless seems to have changed in their approach.
If one's sons should be left out of the picture, why is Gilad inserted into matters that have nothing to do with him or his family? Why is the entire burden of national security being placed on his slight shoulders? Why are we deserting "every mother's son" in the name of all of our children?
Suddenly, the captivity of a single soldier has moved to the center of Israeli policy. If the prime minister had not wanted his son to enter the picture, why did he involve the children of others in his calculations of political cost and benefit?
The only explanation is that the Israeli government places tremendous faith in Hamas. It trusts the Islamist regime to do no harm to the captive. That was the same assumption that accompanied the Ron Arad file until his whereabouts were lost.
Israeli society has failed the Shalit test. Tens of thousands protested and hundreds of thousands expressed solidarity. But popular protests have little chance of succeeding here. With such parents like us, "everyone's son" has been orphaned.
It's sad to see Shalit's real parents wasting away over the holiday while the entire nation relaxes, having seemingly accepted the abducted soldier as a lost cause. Even the media has lost interest. In synagogues, worshippers pray for his wellbeing, just as they will begin to pray for rain in two weeks on Shmini Atzeret.
Aviva and Noam Shalit long ago switched away from daylight saving time. Their summer ended five years ago - since then they've known only darkness.
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