Gilad Shalit Returns Home to Israel

October 17, 2011 – New York – The AJC weekly radio messages are broadcast on the CBS radio network, before The Osgood File. All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at www.ajc.org/radiocommentary.

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The full text of this week’s commentary follows:

An entire nation breathlessly awaited the return of its son.

On Tuesday, Gilad Shalit arrived in Israel.

He'd been kidnapped by Hamas in 2006 and held incommunicado in Gaza ever since.

In Israel, Gilad Shalit became a household name. It was as if just about every Israeli family considered him their son.

It's this sense of collective responsibility that explains what otherwise appears a very lopsided deal.

Israel is releasing over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, including convicted murderers with blood on their hands, for one Israeli.

There are fears some of the released terrorists will go right back to work.

Israelis understand the risk, but overwhelmingly supported the swap.

They opted to risk future dangers to rescue Gilad Shalit.

In the Jewish tradition, we're taught, "He who saves one life has saved the world."

This week, Israel has nobly reminded us all of the value of a human life.

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This is David Harris of AJC.Date: 10/18/2011 12:00:00 AM