Mofaz: Israel Must Bring Shalit Home Before He Becomes Next Ron Arad


mofazKadima MK Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and IDF chief of staff, added chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to his list of hats three months ago.

Mofaz has the broadest security and political credentials of anyone to hold the position to date. However, after the relative placidity of predecessor Tzachi Hanegbi’s tenure – Hanegbi was careful not to clash with the cabinet – Mofaz doesn’t hesitate to sharply criticize government defense policy or to present an alternative.

Two weeks ago, Mofaz stalled a Defense Ministry request for an additional allocation of NIS 700 million, demanding explanations.

Speaking with Haaretz, he warns that further delay in a deal for Gilad Shalit could seal the captured soldier a fate similar to Ron Arad’s.

He blames the prime minister and defense minister for stalling the peace process, hastening the next military conflict, which he says will be far more painful. He also thinks regional changes require peace agreements with the Palestinians and Syrians.

Nonetheless, it appeared this week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is adopting Mofaz’s plan for an interim deal.

In light of the upheaval in the Arab world, you have expressed concern in various forums about the fate of Gilad Shalit.

“In fact because reality is changing so much, it is impossible to know now how it will look a year from now. Therefore I believe that Gilad must be brought home. In my eyes, this is a national mission. There is an opportunity here to bring him back. The government needs to set a time frame, at the end of which if there is no alternative, it enters negotiations with Hamas, which is holding Shalit, and brings him home.

“As time passes the price raises and Shalit’s situation could – heaven forefend – be approaching Ron Arad’s. We cannot allow ourselves that. We know he is alive, that he is in the Gaza Strip.

That’s how things were with Ron Arad, but after a few years the connection with him was lost. I know this is a difficult decision. But inability to make a decision on this matter, for five years, is a tragedy in my eyes.

“Israel knows it has a son in Hamas captivity and isn’t acting. I do not accept the phrase ‘at any price’ because there is a price and it must be bargained for. But in the end it must be agreed to and Gilad returned. It impacts civilian confidence in that such a move presents a government that can make decisions. It also strikes the most sensitive chord for soldiers. My statement is very unequivocal. Our DNA doesn’t allow us to give up on our sons.

The day the state gives up one of its sons, the sons will give up on it. That is not a populist statement. That is a moral and ethical stance.”

Response to terror

And what about the argument that freeing terrorists with blood on their hands will engender a wave of attacks?

“Israel knows how to deal with the worst terrorists. If there are concerns that those freed will join the active terror circuit, I argue Israel must have a response to that, as it has a response to other terrorists. The claim that a deal would encourage more abductions is also not convincing.”

{Haaretz/ Newscenter}


  1. The fate of Gilad Shalit is a microcosm of all the Jewish people. If the State of Israel thinks Gilad is expendable, G-d will make the State of Israel expendable. The current stasis and lack of vision at the top is dangerous.

    Here are the mixed messages coming from the latest UN Meeting…

    – Israel remains committed to regional peace with all its neighbours, including the Palestinians and the only way to peace is through negotiations, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office said overnight Friday after the US vetoed Palestinian resolution calling for condemnation of settlements

    – The US stood alone among the 15 members of the Security Council in failing to condemn the resumption of settlement building. The 14 member countries backing the Arab-drafted resolution included Britain and France. Susan Rice said Washington’s view was that the Israeli settlements lacked legitimacy, but added: “Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides and could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations.”

    -The Palestinian observer at the UN, Riyadh Mansour, said the veto was unfortunate. “We fear that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity,” he said.
    I believe a truly independent and divinely mandated negotiator is required to preside over the goings on in Jerusalem. Righteous leadership is required during times of political, economic and social flux. People seek sanctuary in good leadership.

    What is the circuit breaker ?

    A regional conference should be called in Jerusalem. May 16th is the target date that many parties are aware of. As Napoleon said “Strategy is the art of using time and space well.” As prophesied, the centre of gravity is shifting to the Middle East and no matter what anyone does the momentum will only increase in the coming days and weeks. The various protests are a result of the status quo inhibiting young people’s ambitions. Managing from an ivory tower is never as good as actually engaging. A meeting in Jerusalem with various representatives from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt with other nations present should be called. A peace treaty could be negotiated. Various GDP’s in the region…Israel US$292.7 billion; Jordan $31.01 B; Syria $96.53 B; Lebanon $53.81 B; Gaza $4 B; Saudi Arabia $600.4 B; Egypt $452.5 Billion. The total GDP of these eight areas is approx. $1.5 Trillion. This can increase by at least 5% per annum over the coming years if trust and co-operation increases. Israel’s GDP grew by 5.2% last year. Peacemaking like business is a dynamic process. Stasis and stagnation is dangerous. The vacuum of true vision and leadership needs to be filled. Confusion often precedes understanding.

    I am fit, ready and able. Team is prepared. Just waiting for the call…

  2. While we continue to pray that Gilad ben Aviva’s ordeal end, quickly, and with an ending that all see for the obvious good, reading about the Merkaz HaRav massacre, I can’t help but think about all these boys together, especially thinking of the moving biography of the 8 talmidim, Hy”d. We do not glorify them as warriors, and idealize the bloodshed. We focus on the excellent character, the drive to help others, the warmth, good humor and all the other beautiful characteristics that these boys embody for us.

    Guess you can tell a lot about a people by their heroes…