Good day everyone!
The reports in Israel's media today are full of two oddly connected things; first, it is Gilyad Shalit's third birthday in captivity. He is now 22 years old. He was 19 when he was captured by Hamas operatives and has been, and still is believed to be, in Gaza ever since.
Those are three big years.
Israel is pushing hard on Egypt to get them to find a way of softening Hamas's position. But this young man does surely fit the definition of a 'pawn' caught in a huge and complex 'game'. What makes it even harder is when you look at a photograph of Gilyad, he looks so young – and so not like the hardened image of an Israeli Defense Force soldier.
The other big story is the passing away of Israel's pioneer peace advocate known as Abi Nathan. This Jewish man was born in Iran and educated in India, and was a combat pilot for the British Royal Air Force before he moved into Israel like so many did after 1948.
What makes this man a giant is that he got a freighter and anchored it way off Israel's coast – some say with the help of John Lennon's money – and started the wildly successful Voice of Peace. It's was Israel's first pirate radio station and it's format was in English as they played Rock and Roll peppered with segments on tolerance and coexistence. Lastly the floating station broadcast the news in both Hebrew and Arabic.
He gained international attention when he flew a beat up single engine plane from Israel to Egypt in 1966 declaring his intent to bring Peace to the two countries. His emphasis was on the fact that people gotta talk to each other – the same emphasis as The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week to Israel and the Palestinians.
Abi will be sorely missed. Gilyad is painfully missed. And the link between them is the need for Peace. Neither men would say at any price I am sure, but both would share the line “We need to talk”.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!