This weekend marked five years of Gilad Shalit’s captivity. In case you need some backstory on this situation or a reminder, here is a blurb from StandWithUs:
On 25 June 2006, then-Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from within Israeli territory and taken to the Gaza Strip. The kidnapping was part of an unprovoked attack which involved seven armed terrorists using a tunnel dug under the Israel-Gaza border. Gilad was 19 at the time of his abduction.
During the course of the attack, an IDF soldier, Staff Sergeant Pavel Slutzker, and an officer, Lieutenant Hanan Barak, were killed, while five others were wounded.
25 June 2011 marks 5 years of Staff Sergeant Shalit’s captivity. For 5 years, Hamas has continued to deny Gilad his most basic humanitarian rights, including Red Cross access. For 5 years, his family has suffered greatly, waiting for his return.
The international community should act to end this intolerable situation. As Prime Minister Netanyahu stated (23 May 2011): “I think that the entire civilized community should join Israel and the United States and all of us in a simple demand from Hamas: Release Gilad Shalit.”
It has been so prevalent around social media on Thursday and Friday that it was definitely with me as we entered Shabbat. The minyan (service) I davened (prayed) with on Shabbat morning, always does a prayer for captives and includes his name. While this is something I have always appreciated, this Shabbat I found myself getting teary eyed and wondering what his family was doing.
I found that over Shabbat I often thought of the Shalit family. How much must have happened in the past five years, as I think of my family and what happened in the past five years. Five years ago I didn’t live in this city or know D. Five years ago I was still in graduate school and wearing jeans and tank tops. Five years ago my parents were still living in my childhood home. Five years ago my niece was still struggling to overcome the barriers of being a premie. Five years ago, I had no idea my life would like it does now. What has happened in the past five years of your family’s life? Can you imagine not having been a part of any of those experiences, or not having a key member of your family there? This is why we must support the Shalit family, in any way possible.
While there is little we can really do, beyond sign a petition and pray our hearts out – we can do that. We can light an extra candle this upcoming Shabbbat (the anniversary on the Hebrew calendar) to shed more light. We can also be kind to others and share compassion and empathy. We never know what the back story is on another persons life and what they may be dealing with.