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Sunday, November 29, 2009


Thanksgiving weekend in the USA is very quietly buzzing about speculations that a thousand Palestinian Arabs prisoners, approximately half of which are of Hamas derivation (and possibly including murderer and terror campaign planner Marwahn Barghouti) will be freed as part of a deal to free Gilad Shalit. Shalit is supposed to be imminently moved -- if not already relocated there -- to Egypt. The deal is supposed to take place in Deutschland. Today we hear that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is suddenly seriously virally ill and has cancelled his trip to that un-promised land. The hypothetical deal to release Gilad Shalit comes on the heels of Netanyahu's pledge to freeze further Jewish settlement in Judea-Samaria and to dismantle alleged "illegal" Jewish settlements. As well, Netanyahu has publicly addressed the world on this matter and on his administration's support for a Two-State Solution.

Setting aside the politics or the wisdom of such things as the thousand-to-one prisoner exchange rate, the possible release of Marwahn Barghouti, the imminence of Israeli internecine violence against Jewish Settlers, and the relinquishing of Judea-Samaria, Israel must ask, "Is it appropriate to say the blessing "Shehechyanu" or other appropriate prayers, most especially "Go-mel", on the release of Gilad Shalit? To the naked eye the obvious answer should unquestionably be, "Amen! Yes! Of Course!" So what question is raised here and why? To which the cautious response is, "Israel must make sure beyond the shadow of a doubt that the person returned is in fact Gilad Shalit and not a plant, and that Gilad Shalit -- if it in fact be Gilad Shalit -- is not terribly compromised in the sense of possible threat to Israel (after all, the terrorists have had three years to play with his head and his heart). To say "Shehechyanu" and "Go-mel" may be a bit premature. And the threat of a nuclear Iran mushrooms weekly.

Thanksgiving in America is yet an occasion well worth celebrating; though one must wonder, if Israel can in fact thank Washington this year.