Friday, January 18, 2008

Hope, despair and madness

This heart-warming story appeared earlier this week at Ynet.

Over 10 years ago, then 11-year old Gilad Shalit wrote a story entitled “When the Fish and the Shark First Met”. Saturday, a book based on the story written by the kidnapped IDF soldier was launched at the Edge gallery in Nahariya. Shalit’s parents, members of the Israeli Association of Illustrators, and a myriad of western Galilee resident all participated in this hope-filled event.

Noam Shalit, Corporal Gilad Shalit’s father, spoke at the book launching and referred mainly to the book’s contents, and the message of peace and hope that they convey.

“The story speaks for itself,” said Noam Shalit. “An 11-year-old child wrote this story, which is so very relevant to the situation he finds himself in today. It speaks of two mortal enemies who come to the conclusion that it is better to live peacefully side by side than eat the other alive. They overcome their mothers' mutual suspicions and fears to become fast friends.”

“Gilad is still in Palestinian hands somewhere in Gaza, and a year and a half after his kidnapping we still hope and pray that he comes home safe and sound," Shalit added.

Amen and amen. The question is how best to assure that result (that he comes homes safe and sound) if it's still an option. It certainly isn't by sending condolences to the parents of Hamas terrorists who are killed fighting to annihilate the State of Israel. Nor is it by agreeing to release unrepentant murdererers like Marwan Barghouti in exchange.

Hope is good. But in the real world, mortal enemies do not come to the conclusion that it is better to live peacefully side by side without an incentive to do so.

Hope is good. But it has to be tempered with at least a dash of realism. Otherwise, it all too quickly degenerates into either despair or madness. Or both.

Shabbat Shalom.