Yet another facet is our ongoing struggle to get back our soldiers who are being held captive. We know their names, we live with them missing, we suffer with their families. There are many Arabs being held in Israeli jails. For each, there is a crime or a suspicion of a crime associated with his (or her) name.
With due process and a court system in place, each will have his day of justice, each serve his time, and each be released according to the court's judgement...unless...unless the government comes in and makes a deal - releasing hundreds for a few. The precendent has been set and repeated over and over again. What worth does an Israeli life have in the eyes of the government and people of Israel? The answer, is that it is priceless...even when there is no life.
A few years ago, Israel released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners - for three bodies and a drug dealer. Now, we are trying desperately to find out the condition of the two soldiers kidnapped from our land by Hizbollah in the north and trying to negotiate to get Gilad Shalim back from Gaza.
We know that Shalit is alive. We don't know about the other two soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
Those that sit in Israeli prisons are treated well, have full access to medical care, food and more. We know nothing of what medical treatment Ehud and Eldad were given after their capture. We do not know how or where Gilad is being held. Contrary to international law, human rights organizations are not given access to check on our soldiers.
The only good news we have received recently was a letter from Gilad to his family. We can only pray it is a prelude to his coming home:
"Dear Mom and Dad,
My dear family, I miss you very much. Two long and difficult years have passed since we last parted and I was forced to begin living life as a captive. I continue to suffer medical and psychological difficulties and the depression that is part of this sort of life.
As in my previous letters, I sincerely hope your mental and physical wellbeing has not suffered since you began life without me. I still think and dream of the day I am freed and see you again, and still I keep the hope that that day is near, but I know it is not in your hands or in mine.
I call on the government not to neglect the negotiations for my release and direct its efforts only on the release of the soldiers in Lebanon."