Skip Schrayer, Chairman, and Steven B. Nasatir, President, have issued the following statement on the occasion of the Israeli government reaching an agreement intended to lead to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Chicago's Jewish community and the leadership of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago join with our global Jewish family in anticipation of the release of Gilad Shalit. A young IDF soldier kidnapped from inside Israel by Hamas terrorists in 2006, Shalit has been held incommunicado for five years by Gaza’s Hamas rulers without any rights afforded prisoners by international law, including visitation by the International Red Cross.
Israel, with the assistance of third parties, appears to have struck a deal that upholds the Jewish nation's doctrine of “leave no soldier on the field”—a doctrine that rests on the enduring Jewish value of redeeming the captive.
The plight of Gilad Shalit and his family has been a focal point of global concern and a defining symbol of Israel's clash of values with its jihadist enemies, who explicitly reject Israel’s right to exist.
Since his capture the Jewish United Fund has rallied support and advocated on Shalit's behalf through the Illinois congressional delegation, in the court of public opinion, and with the Shalit family. Today we stand proudly with all who favor international law over terror.
That Israel should again be forced to trade convicted murderers and terrorists for the life of an innocent, is abhorrent. But we admire and applaud the principles on which this difficult and risky decision rests, and pray for the day when those principles no longer must be applied.
To learn more about Shalit, visit www.juf.org/giladshalit.
For more news of his release, visit Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Ynet, and JTA.