Yesterday evening, the cabinet held long talks on the proposed Gilad Shalit (our kidnapped soldier by the Hamas organisation) swap, and senior defense officials and IDF officers admitted that a mass release of security prisoners to the West Bank would give Hamas a substantial boost and create major operational challenges and danger for the State of Israel. One of the main issues that reportedly remains at the core of the cabinet’s debate is whether Israel will allow some of the released terrorists, many of them real cold-blooded murderers, to return to the West Bank. Hamas would naturally want some prisoners – particularly the senior ones – to return to the West Bank, where they would likely try and rebuild the terrorist group’s infrastructure, which has been significantly damaged by continuous IDF operations in recent years. “A massive release to the West Bank could alter the balance,” said one IDF officer. And as before, no decision has yet been made. It’s evidently up to Prime Minister Natanyahu to decide what to do with those terrorist prisoners, a difficult ruling if ever there was one. Maybe today we’ll know more.

And now for something different. I’ll write about a local but humane deed which occured a few days ago. During the Hanukah week, when schools were closed and certain places of work  sent their workers on holiday, a family with a number of children went on an excursion in one of the forests near Jerusalem. Suddenly they noticed that one of their sons, an 8 year old boy suffering from autism, was missing.
They started looking for him but with no avail, and as time passed, it was already 3 in the afternoon, they applied to the police for help. Straight away this problem was also broadcast on television and radio, and over one thousand people, some in full buses, appeared in order to help the police with the search. An hour after midnight the boy was safely found, freezing in the cold, but otherwise not hurt. This shows how much people care and want to help, because it is doubtful if he could have come out alive without their help.
And now for another humane deed, this time performed by two Muslim Arabs who had been working near a building last week, when they heard shouts for help from a burning apartment and managed to save a Jewish family from almost certain death, by breaking down the door and getting the parents and children out. When interviewed later, they said, that the religion doesn’t matter “people are people”. Maybe if peace making was left to the “people” and not politicians, we could achieve peace.
Now for a more unpleasant incident.  Last Wednesday someone took down the famous sign over the Auschwitz concentration camp which said ” Arbeit macht frei ” (Means “work makes for freedom). These were evidently the first words the unfortunate people who were sent to the camp saw, and they were supposed to make them believe they were coming to a “work camp”. But since the end of World War II, this sign has become a sort of symbol for the murder of the  millions. Therefore its disappearance is believed to be an anti-semitic act. President Shimon Peres met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and told him that Israeli citizens and Jews throughout the world were “deep shocked” by the incident. “The sign has an extremely deep historical meaning for the Jewish people and for the whole world and it serves as a memorial monument to the millions of Jews who were murdered in this camp.” Well, yesterday we were informed that the sign, broken into three pieces had been found in the north of Poland, far away from Auschwitz, and that five suspects had been arrested and were being interrogated.
The reason for the theft is still unknown.
Shalom from Irene


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