The Downside of Grace

Instead of finally bringing back their boy, the Israeli government is insisting on turning the family of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit into an example of nobility. For them the unilateral cease-fire is a very bad decision. Grace is important to display, say, for a president's widow at his funeral.

But when it is imposed on Aviva and Noam Shalit after two wars aimed in part to return him home, it lacks any merit. It becomes an excuse for the government to avoid the justice and necessity of including him an agreement, or at the very least receiving a sign of life from him through the International Red Cross.

During last night's press conference at the Shalit's home in Mitzpeh Hila, the mentioning of the Hebrew words atzilut nefesh - roughly translating as grace - seemed to send shivers down the elder Shalit's spine. He does not want to come across as being noble, he said. Instead he wants to influence events from behind the scenes. His preferred mode of operation is talking to every cabinet member who supports including the soldier in a cease-fire agreement with Hamas, who are holding Gilad.

It's hard to understand how ministers have the courage to look the Shalits in the eye after having gone to war twice invoking the abducted soldier's name. History has proven that loud and vocal campaigns to return Israeli soldiers are more effective than quiet and gradual ones.