I don't even know where to begin this. Fact is, I really hope this boy sees his parents and home soon. He's been in solitary confinement for over four years, with no contact with the world he left behind on June 25th, 2006. He's probably endured mental hardships none of us will even come close to experiencing. And yet, what I'm seeing on TV with this march demanding his return doesn't sit with me well. Now don't get me wrong, if I was Gilad's father I'd probably be doing the same exact thing. But this still doesn't sit well with me.
Gilad cannot come back at any cost - especially if that price will include jailed terrorists who will continue to be active. If they kill again, are we willing to tell those newly bereaved parents that Gilad's life was worth more than the lives of their loved ones? Pidyun Shovyim is an important issue here, but I feel its importance is lessened in this situation as it increases the desire of our enemies to take hostages. If I was Noam or Aviva Shalit, I wouldn't care about the last paragraph I've written. As a father myself, I respect and understand that is their way is the only way the parents should be thinking. But as an Israeli with no 'family' attachment to Gilad, I cannot allow myself to think that way, or to expect my government to act that way.
As a soldier, I struggle with this 'what if' scenario all the time. I think however that once in uniform, our life becomes 'less important' than that of our civilian population, and hence, we shouldn't endanger it in any way. I'd never want to be in Shalit's position, but I'd rather not be the potential reason civilians die if I was. I'm sure it would be the opposite if I was sitting in the same room as Gilad is now, but this is where I stand without that horrific reality being a part of my decision making process.