In Israel, Gilad Shalit Is Everybody’s Son, and His Wedding Everybody’s Celebration

June 29 2021

Dominating the headlines in Israeli newspapers last week, amid reports of COVID-19 variants and the usual spats at the Knesset, was the wedding of Gilad Shalit—who, while serving in the IDF in 2006, was captured by Hamas and held hostage for five years. He was released in exchange for 1,027 imprisoned terrorists, many of whom had murdered Israelis, and some of whom went on to do so again. Daniel Gordis writes:

The headline about Shalit’s having gotten married was classic Israeli. Ha-yeled shel kulanu, it read, “He’s the son of all of us” (bad English, but there’s no good way to render the Hebrew). Then it continues: “Gilad Shalit married Nitzan Shabbat.” . . . [T]his is a place where you actually have kids you’ve never met.

Zechariah Baumel was one of several soldiers taken prisoner when their unit was attacked in the battle of Sultan Yakub in June 1982. For years, Israel knew virtually nothing about his fate. Baumel’s father, Yona, devoted the rest of his life to pressing Israel to do more to get information, and as part of this many-years-long campaign, he ended up speaking to the middle-school class of one of our sons.

Our son came home, and over dinner, told us about Baumel’s presentation. During the question-and-answer portion, he told us, one of his classmates asked Baumel if he worried that Zechariah was still being tortured. I grimaced; middle-school kids don’t yet know what you don’t ask. But I didn’t say anything, and our son continued. “No,” Yona Baumel told the kids, “I don’t worry that they’re torturing him. I just worry that he’s cold at night.”

What makes Israeli society what it is, is that there was no one in Israel who did not know who Gilad Shalit was. There was no one who did not think about him. That’s not only who we are, it’s why we are.

The joy felt in the Jewish state at the news of Shalit’s wedding calls to mind the prophecy of a forlorn and imprisoned Jeremiah, whom God told to bring a message of hope to a Judean people facing destruction: “Again there shall be heard in this place, . . . even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.”

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Read more at Israel from the Inside

More about: Gilad Shalit, Israeli society, Jeremiah

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter