Members of the Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox sect known for its ongoing opposition to Israel’s statehood, have publicly objected to the potential rescue of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier captured three and a half years ago by Hamas. The group says Shalit’s acknowledgment in a video last month that he ate in a Druze restaurant proves he does not observe the commandments and therefore “there is no obligation to redeem him or to rescue him according to Jewish law,” they write in a letter to supporters. The group goes even further, criticizing the attention the country has given him these past few years. “Unfortunately, around the national calf called Gilad Shalit, everyone blindly dances. It does not occur to them that, with all the pain and sorrow and ‘the baby taken prisoner’, there is halacha first and foremost.”
The leader of a group known as the Association of Friends of the Sons of Torah for Gilad Shalit quickly challenged the Neturei Karta declaration, saying “a Jewish soldier who has dedicated his life for the entire nation of Israel is observing one of the biggest mitzvoth. It is outrageous ingratitude to claim that there is no obligation to redeem him.” Which seems to us to make a bit more sense.