Thursday, June 25, 2009

The mother of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit writes open letter to people of Israel

Today, I mark three whole years since we were informed that my son Gilad was captured by Hamas.

I am not one of those people who find it easy to write or speak up. I was never like that and I cannot change. I am still Aviva, Gilad’s mother and the mother of Yoel and Hadas, who seek to live a quiet life in Mitzpe Hila in the Galilee.

For three years now I’ve been by my husband Noam’s side, trying to do everything possible in order to demand that decision-makers secure my son’s release. For three years now I attempted to bring the pain, confusion, and frustration to the attention of the entire public. Indeed, I hold back the tears, and I cannot scream.

I know that many people say that we are “noble” and admire the “quiet demeanor” we supposedly display. Others ask us: “Why don’t you raise a hue and cry?” And I’ll tell you the truth: We have not trained to become different than we are. We also did not intend to be noble.

Is this why the State is taking its time? Does the fact that we have shown faith in the State undermine Gilad? Is a State supposed to take quick decisions only because it is prompted to do so by a family’s fight for its son? Especially when this State is obligated to this son, who was sent on its behalf of perform a mission?

I feel great pain, but I will not be describing the nights and days that have continued for three years now. I am turning to you, our precious nation; a nation that has been showering us with love and enveloping us with great support.

Please, help us prompt the current leadership to do what needs to be done and bring Gilad back home. We only wish to return to our anonymity, to the life of a normal family that does not seek the limelight.

I am turning to you based on the knowledge that Gilad has become the son of an entire nation. I thank all of you for every expression of solidarity. Please accept my deep gratitude, even if I cannot travel to every community I am invited to.

This evening, at 7 pm, we shall gather again on behalf of Gilad outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, in order to again say: “Enough!”

I know that it isn’t easy, yet I hope to see you with us, marking this day in support of the call of a mother and father to the State and its leaders: Release our son, release Gilad; Show everyone that around here we do not abandon our children.