Chief rabbi Metzger praises Schalit prisoner swap deal

By MELANIE LIDMAN
October 12, 2011 18:34

"It's fitting that news of Gilad's return came just before Succot, the time of our joy," Ashkenazi chief rabbi says before meeting parents.

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Rabbi Yona Metzger reads Lamentations with the Schalit family.

311_ Metzger and Schalit. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Wednesday afternoon praised the prisoner swap deal that will bring home kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit after five years. He waited to congratulate the Schalit family ahead of Succot at their protest tent in Jerusalem.

Metzger said he felt he was closing a circle, having also visited the Schalits in Mitzpe Hila in the days after the kidnapping.

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Metzger added that it was fitting that the news of Gilad's return came just before Succot, "the time of our joy."

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The chief rabbi also pointed out that in the gematria, the number of days Gilad has been in captivity, 1935, add up to 18, the Hebrew symbol for life.

Exactly 1,934 days after Hamas kidnapped Schalit near Kerem Shalom on the border with Gaza, the cabinet met in a dramatic meeting Tuesday night, approving a deal for his release.

Twenty-six ministers voted to approve the prisoner exchange deal signed with Hamas, with only three voting against the deal. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon and National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau voted against the deal.

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