Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steve Linde/ A cause for celebration

(STEVE LINDE-Jpost). The Gilad Schalit deal was fittingly announced ahead of Succot, which reminds us reaching the promised land after years of wandering.

The succa reminds us of the temporary structures in which the Children of Israel stayed during their 40 years of wandering in the Egyptian desert following the Exodus. Ultimately, they reached the Promised Land, and that is where Gilad must be - the sooner the better.

The overriding principle must not be forgotten: Israel and the IDF cannot abandon Israeli soldiers, citizens and prisoners, wherever they are.

Yes, in an ideal world, Israel wouldn't negotiate with terrorists. Yes, the released prisoners could easily return to terror. Yes, there is no justice in freeing murderers instead of forcing them to serve their sentences in full. And yes, exchanging 1,000 prisoners for one Israeli is hardly fair.

But the alternatives are even worse. That Gilad Schalit could become another Ron Arad, the navigator who went missing in 1986 and whose fate is still unknown. Or that he could be slain by his captors, as has happened to abducted soldiers in the past.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government should be praised for having the courage to reach an agreement.

Despite the sharp differences of opinion in our society over a release of security prisoners, Israelis should join together in their succot this week, pray that Gilad will soon be reunited with his family and celebrate his imminent return home.