Welcome Home

Like most Israeli citizens my family and I learned that Gilad would be released from captivity about one week ago. We believed yet didn’t believe because so much can happen in the course of one week; so much can change. Over the last few days it appeared that Gilad’s release might be delayed for one reason or another ranging from demands by hamas for even more prisoners to be released to demands by families of victims of terror to stop altogether the release of so many murderers.

I am angry that Israel had to go this route to obtain Gilad’s release. There were, perhaps, mistakes made early on in this saga and I hope our leaders have learned from those mistakes so that next time, and let’s pray that there is no next time, the price for freedom won’t be so high.

I am angry that we as a nation, as a people, as a country have to suffer like this. I am saddened for the families whose loved ones were killed or maimed as a result of terror and whose wounds are now ripped open again, raw and painful, for them to endure. I am angry at the world leaders and various human rights organizations for failing Gilad, for not demanding clearly enough or raise their voices loudly enough, or intervene boldly enough for his release. I am angry at our government for giving in to hamas and terrorism, but maybe there was no choice. Maybe there are other plans. I don’t know, but what should be done? Gilad is alive, it was time to bring him home.

So, we sat glued to the television and watched the coverage of his release. When I saw Gilad emerge from darkness to light, I cried. It was shocking. I cried tears of pain and anguish for him, for what he has endured. Tears shed for his loss of youth, his lost innocence. He is so frail. I cried tears of joy for his family, especially his mother. I cried the tears only a mother sheds. I myself wanted to embrace his frail, gaunt, pale, almost limp and lifeless looking body to hug him, hold him and welcome him home from his journey of misery.

I’ve ended many of my blog entries with prayers for Gilad’s safe and speedy return home, back to the loving arms of his mother. I’ve left an empty seat at my Pesach seder table to remember Gilad still in captivity.  So with a very heavy heart and a nod to all the families who have suffered so much and endured so much pain, yet despite their pain have gone on valiantly to live their lives; to all of us, the mothers of Israeli soldiers who will continue to worry for the safety and well-being of our young men and women, I can say finally, finally, welcome home, Gilad. ‘Ve shavu banim ligvulam.’ We’ve returned our son to his land. May you have an easy reentry to life and I wish for you happiness, health and peace always.

We are one nation. We value even one life.

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