Jewish World Review Oct 24, 2011 / 26 Tishrei, 5772
Mixed Feelings at a Homecoming
By Paul Greenberg
After five years in lonely captivity, denied visits by the
In his fresh uniform, web belt around his shrunken waist, regulation headgear tucked under a shoulder strap, and looking shrunken in his outsized uniform, Sgt. Shalit was saluting the high-ranking (and well-fed) politicians who are attracted to such occasions -- like moths to even a flickering flame.
Recall how painfully thin Gen.
They'd called him Skinny Wainwright even before the war, and the man was a lot skinnier afterward. He seemed only a shadow of his old self when he was immediately flown to
Now this once young sergeant is being welcomed home by his family, which in
And like some small towns I've known, everybody has an opinion about just how you should conduct your business -- and doesn't hesitate to voice it.
His country is still divided over the wisdom of ransoming
Even as the Palestinian prisoners were being released to jubilant cheers in the
Odds are they'll get one to exchange. Dead or alive, for the Israelis, like the Marines, have this thing about reclaiming their dead, too.
Whether it's the Reagan administration sending arms to
Not till the Israelis erected their fence -- uh, security barrier -- did the killings abate. Even mentioning the number of a bus that was blown apart -- Egged 16, 37, 5 -- will bring back images of the blood and gore, and the men in black hats and long beards who make it their business to pick up every severed limb or piece of flesh at the scene in order to observe the commandment about giving the dead a decent burial.
Whatever the Israelis' misgivings about the deal that freed
It may be only a matter of time before the real price of this one Israeli soldier's release will be known. Those who go out rejoicing at Gilad Shalit's release may return soon enough weeping over the next Gilad's seizure. Or death.
In other lopsided exchanges, the Israelis have exchanged hundreds of prisoners for the corpse of one of their boys. Nice people they're dealing with. But deal they will, which may be why there will be more captives on the market. Call it the cost of belonging to a people who have been told to choose life.
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