The hottest trend on Facebook now is for people to change their status to "...has been waiting for Gilad Shalit for two years". Over the last several days, a significant number of my friends have joined the wave. This morning, I received my own invite. If I wish, on June 25, I can also up the ante and change my facebook profile picture to that of Gilad Shalit.
I am not sure what to do.
On the one hand, yes, I want Gilad Shalit to come home. On the other hand,I have to admit to being very troubled with Noam Shalit's stance toward the recent truce between Israel and Hamas. He has demanded that the government condition any truce and any easing of conditions on the return of his son. Thousands of Israelis are suffering under daily rocket barrages from Gaza. Thousands of Israeli children are growing up in an active war zone. Israelis are being killed and injured. Why are we supposed to do nothing to help them? Why are their lives less important than that of Gilad Shalit?
What am I saying if I change my status? Am I saying that I believe that everything and anything should be conditioned on Gilad Shalit's return? Or am I saying that we should be making every effort to bring him home AND to bring quiet, and that the two processes may well be separate. And that, in fact, to the extent that numbers have any relevance in respect to setting our priorities, thousands of Israelis trounce one. Seven years trounces two.
Which brings me to another, rather cynical, question I have beating around my brain. I ask myself this: Gilad Shalit has been in captivity for two years. Sderot and its surroundings have been under attack for seven. What was Noam Shalit doing about this during the long five years of attacks when his son was safe at home and when the people of Sderot were suffering? Where was his outrage then?
Did he give a shit?
But I am conflicted because I am not a soldier. I came too late to serve. I am conflicted because I do not have children who will serve (at least not yet). Who am I to say anything? Who am I to have an opinion? How am I any different from the armchair Zionists, the hawks and the doves, who pontificate from afar without ever risking having to suffer the consequences of their plans?
If it were me, I know what I would believe, or at least I know what I believe now, when it is all theoretical. My life is not by definition more important than that of another. But what if it were my child?
Whether I change my status or not, I am taking a stand. I just wish I really knew where I stood.