Today marks two months since the attack on the Kerem Shalom outpost on the Gaza border and the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In the attack, which sparked a renewed round of violence in Gaza, two soldiers were killed and several others were wounded.
Since that fateful morning much has happened: Two more soldiers were kidnapped by Hizballah near the Lebanese border; a war has begun and ended and 118 soldiers and 44 civilians were killed in Israel and thousands more wounded. As the events spiraled, Shalit and the situation in Gaza were nearly forgotten.
But not by his distraught family. After weeks of anguish and anticipation, wavering between hope and despair, the Shalit family is beginning to collect their lives and try to move forward. This week, the Shalit family received the first booking since their son’s kidnapping for their guesthouse in the tranquil Galilee community of Mitzpe Hilah. Gilad, turns 21 on Monday.
Gilad’s mother Aviva said she could not bring herself to prepare the rooms for guests, but realized that she must. The Shalits received two economic blows as well. First, guests stopped coming to them when Shalit was kidnapped and journalists swarmed the tiny community. Then war broke out with Hizballah in Lebanon leaving the community, along with all of northern Israel, in the line of fire.
Since the kidnapping of Shalit in Gaza and soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in northern Israel, much effort has been made to bring to their release. Families of all three soldiers have been traveling the world meeting with world leaders and the media in an attempt to raise awareness and exert pressure that will ultimately lead to the release of their loved ones.
Regarding the kidnapped soldiers, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 calls for “an unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers.” Let’s pray that will be implemented sooner rather than later.