Netanyahu's Brother-in-law: Free Shalit Through War, Not Talks

Hagai Ben Artzi argues with Noam Shalit; Ron Arad's wife: Bringing Shalit back home is Israel's 'moral duty.'

Prime Minister Netanyahu's brother-in-law, Hagai Ben Artzi, confronted the father of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as he awaited a decision by senior ministers on a deal to secure the release of his son.

"I have come here to strengthen the Prime Minister and support the path he has expounded over the last few years," Ben-Artzi, a prominent right-winger, told Noam Shalit at a protest tent opposite Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem.

"I hope that we will be able to release Gilad during the next war in Gaza," he said.

Noam Shalit asked him in response to forecast when the next war in the coastal strip would take place, to which Ben Artzi answered "either in two months, or in six months."

Lawmakers also visited at the protest tent to support the Shalit family. But MKs Yaacov Katz and Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said that they believed that Gilad should have been released in a military operation, "and not by cravenly flattering the enemy."

Meanwhile, the wife of missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad on Monday urged the government to reach a deal for Shalit's release.

"If he fought and was taken prisoner, our moral duty is to save him," Tami Arad told Army Radio. "In my view, the decision should be reached according to an ethical code."

Her husband was captured by Lebanese militants after his plane went down over Lebanon in 1986; subsequent efforts to negotiate his release or at least determine his fate have failed.

Arad rejected the notion that Hamas would demand less from Israel if the deal were postponed to a later date. "I'm not sure there would be someone to bring back," she said.

"The fact that today they show Gilad alive doesn't say that he will be alive [then]. Ron's incident shows that when it is possible to bring someone back, you need to bring him back and not wait - because a captive's time isn't a security certificate, it's the exact opposite."

Shalit was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in a 2006 cross-border raid and has been held by Hamas in Gaza since then.

On Sunday, the abducted soldier's parents spoke of Arad's "tragedy" in a fresh appeal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reach a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

"We plead you not to repeat the tragedy of Ron Arad, God forbid we add to this wound which was seared onto Israeli society, and has seen sorrow for generations," Noam and Aviva Shalit wrote to the premier, in a letter they delivered in person to his Jerusalem office.