March 15, 2011 marks the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping. To mark the anniversary, Israelis participated in a national moment of silence this morning.
People were asked to stop working, pull their cars to the side of the road, leave cafes and take to the streets, which more than a million people did. Some unfurled banners which proclaimed “Gilad still lives”. Those words, both an assertion and a prayer, convey indescribable pain and frustration.
Multiple efforts to secure Shalit’s release from his Hamas captors have failed. There is no reason to rehash the charges and counter-charges about why that is so, especially today. All that really matters is that for five long years a young man and his family have suffered needlessly – denied all contact and information, and held in who knows what kind of conditions.
It boggles the mind that this drama continues. Whether one thinks that Shalit was taken captive in a legitimate act of war between nations, or that he was viciously kidnapped by a terrorist organization, ought to be beyond the point. Holding this young man, as he continues to be held, is simply indecent and whatever one’s politics, should be deemed so by all decent people.
Wherever he is, and in whatever condition, today is a day when we should not only remember Gilad Shalit, but come together to insist that the silence be broken.