Nothing surprising about this story

noamshalit

This is the Israel I know and love.

For five and a half years, while Gilad Shalit was held by Hamas in Gaza, the Iscar metal working tools company offered his family financial support and continued to pay his father’s salary.

Noam Shalit has a senior position in Iscar’s marketing department in the Tefen Industrial Park. Eitan Wertheimer, one of the company owners, continued to pay his salary even when he took leave from work in order to devote his time to the campaign for his son’s release.

Wertheimer even provided the Shalit family with an apartment in Jerusalem, funded the family members’ personal needs, including food, and helped finance the campaigns.

Wertheimer has refrained from discussing his relationship with the Shalit family until now, when their son is finally home. “This is a great moment for the people of Israel, and for the Iscar family, which stood by Shalit the entire period,” he says.

“There’s nothing unusual in what we did. I believe every other employer in Israel would have done the exact same thing.”



11 Comments

  1. SoccerMummy

    10/22/2011 at 8:50 am

    Would it be permissible to exclaim “Only in Israel!” or would that be seen as too chauvinistic?

  2. josh

    10/22/2011 at 2:29 pm

    Should I post here the growing number of articles claiming (after the fact, duh) that the campaigns merely raised the price we had to pay for his release?

  3. themiddle

    10/22/2011 at 4:06 pm

    You can post them. Do we ever stop you? I happen to also think that it’s true that the campaign increased the numbers Israel had to pay.

    In case you missed it, however, that’s not the point of this article. My point in this article is that when you or your sons go to defend your country, the country you’re defending is worth defending.

  4. josh

    10/22/2011 at 7:43 pm

    There are good people everywhere, certainly not only in Israel.

    middle, it is a legitimate post. It explains how Noam had so much free time and money at hand to hire high-paying PR firms to woo celebrities and other media. And every article about Shalit and the struggle to freedom are related.

    About defending countries, well, as a combat soldier, I would not want my release to be in exchange for hundreds of murderers with high-risk to repeat crimes, and knowing that my family was blaming the prime minister for my prolonged captivity and doing little to put pressure on the terrorists and their heads (so few and little protests at jails preventing Arab families from meeting their criminal relatives, so few laws passed to reduce the luxuries in jail these murderers received).

    Another main message that this campaign has loudly sent is one that we should not be too proud of at all – the individual is more important than the others.

    A few of the messages that have been

    • themiddle

      10/22/2011 at 9:14 pm

      middle, it is a legitimate post. It explains how Noam had so much free time and money at hand to hire high-paying PR firms to woo celebrities and other media. And every article about Shalit and the struggle to freedom are related.

      Not only that, but he’s from ISCAR’s marketing department where he’s a senior exec. Now you understand better why he pursued tactics and a strategy that proved effective. So what? This was his son. I would jump in front of a car if it would save my son. Are you surprised that Noam used every tool in his arsenal? Then again, his company kept him on salary for that period and permitted him to do whatever he could to get his son back. That is kindness at a level you rarely see anywhere.

      About defending countries, well, as a combat soldier, I would not want my release to be in exchange for hundreds of murderers with high-risk to repeat crimes, and knowing that my family was blaming the prime minister for my prolonged captivity and doing little to put pressure on the terrorists and their heads (so few and little protests at jails preventing Arab families from meeting their criminal relatives, so few laws passed to reduce the luxuries in jail these murderers received).

      First of all, Gilad had nothing to do with Noam and Aviva’s campaign. He was sitting in some dank, tiny, dark room somewhere. He had no say in who would be released or how many would be released or whether he could just kill himself instead of letting the trade happen. So leave him alone.

      Second, stop being so self-centered. Ask yourself a different question. If YOUR SON was captured, would you be willing to forget about him and risk his death or a Ron Arad-like disappearance so that those hundreds of murderers remain in prison?

      Be honest with your answer. If you don’t have a son, pretend it’s your daughter. If you don’t have kids, pretend it’s your niece or nephew or brother or sister.

      Another main message that this campaign has loudly sent is one that we should not be too proud of at all – the individual is more important than the others.

      Actually, this post proves you wrong. So does the message the Shalits kept sending out which is that the government needs to be brave about bringing him back. They didn’t criticize Israel, Zionism, the Nakba, or anything that far-Leftists do daily and to a far worse degree than Noam Shalit ever even imagined, much less did. Shalit never even laid the blame at the IDF’s feet and it was most certainly the IDF’s fault that his son was captured. It was amateur hour in the Southern command (under the guy who almost became Chief of Staff, by the way) and what happened on the day of his capture was completely preventable. The Shalits were very careful to attack sitting prime ministers and their cabinet. To me that suggests the opposite of your claim that they made the individual more important than others.

      I do believe that the Shalits should have made a bigger deal out of attacking Hamas, but I understand their concern about not upsetting their son’s captors too much because of what they might do to him.

      However, what makes your argument against the Shalits weak is none of the above. It is that the Shalits were merely asking to have their son treated the same as so many other captured Israelis had been in the past. Did Tanenbaum deserve to have a single prisoner exchanged for him? No. But that guy, apparently on a drug run, was exchanged for prisoners. Dead Israelis’ bodies have been exchanged in the past twenty years for dozens and hundreds of prisoners. Fifty two prisoners were exchanged for Ron Arad’s gun, for heaven’s sake. So please explain to me why you are blaming the Shalits for seeking to have their son exchanged just like all of the others. Why should a new policy begin with their son? Did they do something to deserve losing him permanently when he could be saved like dead Israeli bodies had been “saved?”

      I think you have your messages a little mixed up. This is an extremely painful deal and one that involved many mistakes by the government. There was a point where they could have exchanged him for 425 prisoners. However, it was either an exchange or death for Gilad and that would have been unconscionable. It would also have undermined the unwritten contract that parents in Israel have with the government and the IDF that these two institutions will do their utmost to protect their sons and prevent their deaths or injury, not to mention bring them back from battle. Aside from that, it would have undermined fighting spirit among fighters to know they wouldn’t be saved if they were captured. This isn’t a for-pay army, it is a conscription army that relies heavily on soldiers’ motivation. You need to give people a good reason to fight, to fight hard and to put themselves in danger. You also need to assure them that they will be treated as individuals in the event they need help.

  5. josh

    10/23/2011 at 8:00 am

    I would jump in front of a car if it would save my son.
    Would you push someone else’s son in front of the car to save your son?

    Gilad had nothing to do with Noam and Aviva’s campaign
    True. Maybe soldiers should have a living will or something like that. Check this out from someone who claims he is a soldier in Shayetet:
    rotter.net/for...

    The Shalit’s could not attack the army, that would have been a bad PR move. Better to blame the government for the accident and kidnapping – where you are ensured at least a 50% support (from those who did not vote for them).

    I do believe that the Shalits should have made a bigger deal out of attacking Hamas, but I understand their concern about not upsetting their son’s captors too much because of what they might do to him.

    This is certainly wanky. The pressure should have been centered on the Arabs and the onus put on them. Once again, we let a soldier be MIA and accept that we have no sign of life. And do you remember what we had to pay for that video 2 years ago? Great negotiating on our part. Have you been reading about the tremendous internal Arab criticism on Hamas for leaving certain people out? Maybe this was part of the Netanyahu strategy – divide and conquer. This deal was certainly better for Hamas who cared for it’s own. Why should they care for PLO/Fatah terrorists?

    And then you say, ‘so we always exchange a disproportionate amount of prisoners for Jews so why should this be different’? It’s never too late to correct a mistake. Watch this from a long time ago: youtube.com/wa...;

    the unwritten contract
    No such thing, a myth. We are soldiers, sent to fight, not innocent sons walking in the streets. All these MIAs have since proven that we cannot depend on the country. There were many instances in the 2nd Lebanon War and the Cast Lead operation in which entire units would risk themselves to pick up Israeli bodies so that they would not be used later for ransom, and in cases where it was suspected that Arabs had overrun Israeli positions, units would fire on that position knowing that better to kill everyone there (even ‘friendly-fire’, than risk MIAs. If you were in the army, you would know that we fight now until the death. There is nothing about ‘knowing we will be returned’.

    More food for though:
    globes.co.il/n...

  6. themiddle

    10/23/2011 at 2:25 pm

    Noam Shalit didn’t push anybody in front of a car. He did something very simple. He said, “Israel has always agreed to push their people on the road and create risks in order to ensure that a person who was already in deep trouble could escape. I’d like Israel to do the same for my son.”

    You haven’t answered my question. If it were your son who was captured and you knew that a deal could save him, would you simply accept that he’s gone in order to avoid a deal? Come on, be honest.

    Regarding the Shayetet soldier’s letter, you’ll forgive me but he’s a young man who is still in the throes of his military service and in a very particular type of unit. Give that young guy 5 more years of life experience and/or a girlfriend who loves him and has agreed to marry him and there’s no way that he’d write that letter.

    Besides, let’s say that your idea of a living will would be something that all soldiers do. How long before commanders demand their soldiers write wills that permit the country and the army to forget them? As you mention later in your comment, the rule today is already not to be captured. That’s not so new. Back in the days of ’48, it was expected that soldiers fight to the death rather than be captured. It was an embarrassment and humiliation to be captured.

    I happen to think that’s an idiotic approach to approaching war, but I’ve never been in a position where I determine to what extent people should risk their own lives and risk their families losing them forever. It must be pretty easy to sit in the Matkal and sit in the Cabinet and decide that people should fight to the death. After all, what are the odds that the person making that decision is putting themselves at risk?

    As for Hamas getting a much better deal than Fatah, of course this was so. It is Shalit’s good fortune that Abbas decided to go to the UN. This deal was intended to weaken Abbas. Somewhere on here I wrote a post a few months ago where I suggested that one solution to address the PA’s current behavior and push for a UN-declared state would be to release Shalit, stop helping the Judea and Samaria PA forces in capturing and endangering Hamas operatives, wait six months and let the PA suffer from their popular natural predators. So Israel has now done the obvious first part of this. I don’t think they will do the second part because of the fear that Hamas in control of Areas A in Judea and Samaria would be very dangerous, but Israel might just do enough to scare the hell out of the PA.

    Kahane’s speech shows short-term thinking. If you kill all of theirs, expect all of yours killed as well. Then, you’re right, there won’t be any lopsided prisoner exchanges because there won’t be any prisoners. Then again, it’s a good thing that Israel isn’t in the business of capital punishment and especially not “automatic” punishment. It’s an enlightened country. They can make life in prison much more challenging and that would help, but just killing people is not a good prescription.

    Regarding the Globes article, I would have preferred you linking me to the article about who will stop Barcelona.

  7. josh

    10/23/2011 at 7:20 pm

    I’m not going to answer your question because you cannot even bother to reveal your real name. FWIW, I have kids, and I also serve in a front-line reserve combat unit.

    Last time I checked, Israel is the modern inventor of targeted killings (i.e. capital punishment), and this certainly makes as an enlightened country. Killing someone (on a national basis, the Torah virtually forbids vigilantism) who has killed your people or who you know is about to kill your people is an obligation of enlightened government. Thinking that being nice to them is criminal ignorance.

    I think that the people in the matkal and the government certainly do think hard about sending soldiers on dangerous missions.

    Good sermon: frontpagemag.c...

  8. themiddle

    10/23/2011 at 9:57 pm

    Josh, I have no idea whether you use your real name when you publish here and I certainly don’t care. Think about it: it’s nearly impossible to know when a person is who they say they are when they publish here or anywhere. All our readers see is the name “Josh.” For all anybody knows, you could be Ahmad, an operative of the Pakistani government.

    In any case, you’ve answered my question by not answering it.

    Regarding targeted killings, I support them when they are used to prevent new attacks on Israelis or to respond to attacks on Israelis by people who can’t be captured using safe means. I don’t consider either to be the same as capital punishment which is a killing conducted by a state to people who are in its prisons. The former is a function of killing in a field of battle, even when the enemy turns civilian areas into its center of operations. The latter is a killing on a state’s own soil, when the government has control over a prisoner and the ability to manage that prisoner with the use of its justice system.

    As for the government and the Matkal, I am afraid that I don’t think that it reflects deep thinking to tell people not to get captured alive. I think only people who don’t need to worry about their own skins can make such decisions. I also think that sometimes decisions are made without due consideration for what is actually going to happen to soldiers. Consider what happened to David Grossman’s son in Lebanon who was killed in an unnecessary and poorly planned maneuver at the end of the war when the war’s fate was already known. Grossman was right not to shake Olmert’s hand.

  9. josh

    10/27/2011 at 8:01 pm

    D’uh, don’t you have access to my email that is included in each post. google it.
    About targeted killings, yeah, whatever. It is ex-judicial capital punishment. The chief executive has the power to decide who lives and who dies, we hope that yours and ours understands the responsibility of making the right decisions.

    haaretz.co.il/...

    The brigade command talks about soldier motivation in risking themselves to arrest terrorists who will only be released anyway.

    I liked Rabbi Rontzki talking about the irony of the deal – A soldier is expected (virtually forced) to risk his life to protect civilians, but in the massively lopsided trades, it is the mass population who is forced (unwillingly) to risk their lives for the one soldier. Once again, another indication that our society is putting more importance on the individual.

  10. Nickidewbear

    11/20/2011 at 8:54 pm

    Well, I’d want to work at Iscar if my calling was to be in metal-working-tool production.

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