(photo credit: Courtesy)
It was a disclosure that brought back terrible memories.
Thursday’s bombshell that Hamas has been holding two Israeli citizens for a number of months immediately brought us back to the black days of Gilad Schalit’s captivity.
But with that harrowing saga still fresh in our minds and hearts, it didn’t take long for the feelings of unity and empathy for the families in question to descend into s accusations flying more wildly than a barrage of rockets from Gaza.
In a country where everything is a secret – but everyone knows the secrets – keeping such a huge development under wraps for so long was truly remarkable.
There was melodramatic outrage in the media and even more in the political echelon that those running the show had been able to keep them out of the loop for so long about such a great scoop, and somebody was going to have to pay for it.
The radio talk shows were bursting with commentary and criticism about the government’s decision to impose a gag order on the case – the strategic thinking being that if there is no pressure, public rallies and campaigns in the streets like there were during the Gilad Schalit captivity, Hamas would not be able to extract such a high price for the release of the two Israelis.
Whether that thinking is valid or not, it had to be debunked in order to discredit whatever government efforts are in place to secure the Israelis’ release.
Another way to put the secret keepers back in their place was to dredge up the in-this-case ridiculous racial card. Some reports pointed to the fact that both Israelis being held – 26-year-old Avera Mengistu from Ashkelon and a Beduin from the South whose name is not allowed to publish – were members of minorities in the country, and not from the privileged Ashkenazi elite. Therefore, the government wasn’t treating their capture with the same gravity.
Now that the case has been revealed, will we see a return of rallies in the streets, nationwide petitions, and vigils outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem? The debate about the price we paid for Schalit’s release will certainly come into play. And there will be a heated arguments between those who subscribe to the belief that everything should be done to return Israelis to their own soil – whether they’re black, green, blue, Jewish, Muslim or Reform – and those who would choose throwing their fate to the wind over negotiating with arch-terrorists.
But before we get to those heady topics, this unfolding drama is bringing out the blame gene that we’re all born with. But as we grasp at straws for someone to point the finger at over the fact that we didn’t know that two Israelis have been missing and held for months, and why they haven’t been brought home yet, let’s not forget that we actually have a perfect address to vent our frustrations and direct our blame: Hamas.