Ordeal Over, Shalits Move On

Gilad Covered NBA Finals While Dad Runs for Office

By Nathan Jeffay

Published June 24, 2012, issue of June 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

He had to face the “conflict” between wanting to get back to his old life and accepting that his five years of waging a relentless campaign for his son’s return had irrevocably changed him. He chose the latter, and decided to enter politics. Noam Shalit will stand for the Knesset on a Labor ticket in the next elections, due in the fall of 2013.

Aviva Shalit, his wife, feels “very bad” about his choice, he admitted: “She doesn’t like the idea that I will be on the front lines in the media and so on. She wants to go back to the way that we lived before.” Reflecting the tension in the household, Noam Shalit conducted the interview in the front garden rather than inside the house, where family members would be nearby.

Discussing his decision not to go back to work involved a rare admission of how complex his life has become. This is a man who, on most subjects, has boiled down his opinions to curt and very definite statements. He will feel no conflict campaigning politically against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who made the prisoner exchange deal and freed more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners to bring his son back home. Netanyahu “was committed to do this, [and] he didn’t do us a favor,” because the government has an obligation to rescue its soldiers, he said.

Shalit also said that even though his campaign is widely credited with pushing Netanyahu to make the exchange, which by Shalit’s own assessment went against Netanyahu’s beliefs, “against his politics and almost against his DNA,” Shalit believes that he shares no responsibility for its ramifications. When asked what he will feel if a prisoner released in the deal commits a terrorist attack in the future and accusations are leveled against him, he responded: “Accusations against me? It’s not my decision to release Palestinian prisoners.”

Shalit is confident that he could compartmentalize his negative feelings toward Hamas if ever the time came that the movement was prepared to negotiate And if he enters politics, he will be prepared to take part in talks. “If there would be any chance to talk to them and promote peace and promote the two-state solution, I will be glad to talk to anybody,” he said. On the subject of the Palestinians, Shalit said he believes that “maybe if I were a Palestinian, I would fight the Israeli armed forces.”

Shalit’s expression hardly changed during the course of his interview, and he hardly moved his face or body, sitting straight in his chair. Talking to him, one gets the sense that his dispassionate way of applying logic was the secret to the campaign for his son’s freedom. He hardly needed to display emotion; by getting the nation to think of his son as everybody’s son, he made use of his fellow citizens’ emotions to mobilize them. And he focused his energies on making the same demands over and over again, for the most part without losing his cool.

Asked about his lack of anger when he discusses his son’s captivity, he said matter-of-factly: “I never believed that anger will do me good or will improve our chances to get Gilad back. On the contrary, it will divert me from the focus and will reduce my capabilities.”

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.