God willing, Gilad Shalit will soon be home in Israel with his family after nearly 2,000 days of captivity. Daniella Cheslow was at the Shalits’ tent encampment near the prime minister’s residence last night, where jubilant supporters (and a few upset family members of terrorist victims who oppose the deal) gathered. “At first I didn’t believe it, because there have been so many rumors in the past,” Shalit’s brother, Yoel, told Cheslow, who reports on the celebration today in Tablet Magazine. “But slowly it became clear how this time is different from the others.”
Senior writer Liel Leibovitz reflects on the unique symbolism—of the ultimate everyman, if there can be such a thing—that Shalit offered Israelis for more than five excruciating years, and how the movement that pressured the government to strike a deal for his liberation set the stage for the social-justice movement that captured the Israeli imagination this past summer.
And Yossi Klein Halevi, in his first piece for Tablet, interrogates himself for his past opposition to a Shalit deal, weighing the security cons versus the pros of saving the life of an Israeli soldier not all that different from his own son.