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What I Need To Know

I am the mother of a young musician in his first year of service in the Israel Defense Forces. This is what I need to know: that if he were in Gilad Shalit’s position, my people would never, ever leave him behind in order to avoid the terrible calculus of securing his life in an unfathomably lopsided prisoner swap, as discussed in Brent E. Sasley’s “Gilad Shalit Release Welcome, but at What Cost?” published in the Forward’s October 21 issue.

Especially, I would want the price for negotiating his release to be so high that my leaders would never, ever ask him or any of his comrades to risk capture in the first place by patrolling or crossing our borders with malfunctioning communications equipment, with poor intelligence or with outdated maps.

Instead of bringing joy with his music, instead of beginning formal education, our son is crawling in the dirt and learning to fight, trading his peace of mind for that of his people. In exchange, I need to know that we’ve all got his back.

Susan Elster


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