As I am trying to take in all the statements, analyses and feelings being expressed in the media right now about the deal struck today for Hamas’ release of Gilad Shalit in return for Israel’s release of 1,000 prisoners (450 with blood on their hands), I am particularly struck by this photo of a relieved and overjoyed Aviva Shalit at the Gilad Shalit vigil/protest tent in Jerusalem.
This image is a far cry from the way I saw Aviva this past July at the tent, where she sat wearily and almost stone-like, barely reacting to our presence. I entered the tent on a quiet Shabbat afternoon with my 9-year-old son and introduced ourselves to Aviva, who was sitting alone at that moment. I told her we lived in California and that we had come by to show our solidarity and express our hopes for her son’s safe return. Overcome by the oppressive heat and exhaustion, she said nothing.
I wish I could be at the tent this evening to see a very different Aviva Shalit, one who is smiling and expressive, and surely more like the person she was prior to June 25, 2006.
© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.