Tzvi Schalit to PM: You endanger my grandson’s life

Family starts letter-writing campaign ahead of soldier’s 24th birthday

big schalit rally 311 (photo credit: AP)
big schalit rally 311
(photo credit: AP)
On the eve of his grandson’s fifth birthday in Hamas captivity, Tzvi Schalit published a brief but strongly-worded missive to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, in which he said that if Gilad Schalit were to die in captivity, the responsibility would be Netanyahu’s.
“Every day, you endanger the life of my grandson, Gilad Schalit,” wrote the elder Schalit, who also lost a son in the Yom Kippur War. “You are not working on his release.You do not listen to the multitudes of Israeli who demand his release. You do not listen to your own defense leaders...who say that the release of prisoners as demanded by Hamas is not a security risk for the state of Israel.”
Schalit, a veteran of the War of Independence, told the prime minister, “You do not respect the military ethos upon which you were raised, that you do not abandon soldiers in the field.”
He added that “the day will come and the prison gates will open, and the Hamas prisoners will be released because another, brave prime minister will reach an agreement with the regime in Gaza, but my grandson might no longer exist.”
Schalit concluded the letter with the warning that “if my beloved grandson dies in Hamas dungeons, it will be your responsibility.”
In recent days, the Schalit family has launched a letterwriting campaign in advance of Gilad’s birthday to try to move talks for his release forward from their current stalemate.
“On Saturday, we will commemorate a sad event opposite the protest tent, opposite the prime minister’s home – Gilad’s 24th birthday,” the captive soldier’s father, Noam Schalit, said during a speech Tuesday in Holon. “His fifth birthday in the darkness of Hamas dungeons in Gaza. We will once again apologize with lowered heads to our son Gilad that we have not yet succeeded in returning him home, that we have still not succeeded in making the State of Israel and the government of Israel bring home, after more than four years and 1,500 days, a soldier who was sent on a mission and, due to a chain of failures, fell into captivity and still has not returned home.”
In his speech as well, Noam Schalit called upon the prime minister to “take the calculated risk” and bring about his son’s release through a prisoner swap.
“The risks of abandoning Gilad, for the nation, for Israeli society and for the IDF are dozens of times greater than those taken by his release,” the soldier’s father added, acknowledging that there were those in “certain circles” who would undoubtedly criticize such a move.
Schalit concluded by calling on the citizens of Israel to join the Saturday night birthday commemoration, to “call on the prime minister to do everything necessary to return Gilad home without delay, before it is too late.”