Esther Wachsman: Gilad should be home with his mother

Wachsman, whose son, Nachshon was held hostage for nearly a week and ultimately killed in 1994, feels joy for Schalit family.

Gilad Schalit 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Gilad Schalit 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
When Noam and Aviva Schalit received the news about Gilad’s imminent release, Esther Wachsman, whose son, Nachshon was held hostage for nearly a week and ultimately killed in 1994, felt unequivocal joy.
“I have been involved with Noam and Aviva for a long time and have been to the [protest] tent on numerous occasions. I have never had mixed feelings or any doubt about this. As a mother I wanted this boy to be home with his mother,” Wachsman told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
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“I realize this is a dilemma and it is very frightening for those who have been victims of terror but I was there when news of the deal reached the family and at that point nothing else mattered except for him to be brought home safely.”
Even as more details about the deal became public, and information reached the Wachsmans that the man who murdered their son is among those to be released, she said her feelings towards the Schalits and their happiness have not changed.
“It was not a shock or any big news that this man was going to be released,” said Wachsman, her voice clearly weary. “At least he cannot go home and he must go and live abroad.”
Wachsman said the hardest part she faces in this whole deal is the constant harassment she has felt from the media, who have “been knocking on my door constantly asking for a comment.”
“They have not made it any easier for us during this hard time,” confessed Wachsman. “I am pleading with the press. This deal has been signed and sealed and almost delivered. Please show the Schalit family some respect right now.”
Despite her unwavering support for Gilad’s release, Wachsman said she is conscious of the families who have not been lucky enough to see their loved ones returned to them.
“Of course I sympathize with them and I understand where they are coming from. We lost a very dear friend of ours in the Sbarro bombing [in Jerusalem in 2001],” she said. “I understand all their pain but I don’t think that they [terror victims families] should have been protesting across the road when the news was announced.
“When I think about the unspeakable experience that this poor family has gone through for the last five years I know this deal is the right thing. I suffered through only one week of not knowing where my son was and I am not sure how I would have coped with five years.”
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