What a wonderful day in Israel! Gilad Shalit is finally home where he belongs.
Shalit was captured at the young age of 19 by Hamas. He has been in captivity for 5 years and finally was set free today.
When he was captured I didn't really know anything about it. I wasn't very into worldly things, being my high school self. I was into hanging with friends, and going to movies. I had no idea this was going on.
When my attention was brought to Gilad, I was here in college. People at Hillel wore buttons saying "Free Gilad". I still knew little about him or what happened. Then last winter, my eyes were opened to the whole situation.
The boyfriend and I were accepted on a Birthright trip. This is a free trip for Jews, over 18, who have never been to Israel. This trip is very competitive and you're lucky to get on the wait list. It was my second time applying and we both got on the trip together.
January 3rd, 2011, we both met our group at the Newark, NJ airport and flew out to Israel. This trip was a once and a lifetime trip that has truly affected and changed my life. I have become more religious and invested in Israel. We stopped in every major city to see the sights, and on one of those stops was a tent in Jerusalem. This tent was set up by Gilad's family, friends and supporters, working around the clock to try to get him home. Finally the reality of the situation hit me.
Even though this wonderful thing happened, this isn't over yet. "On this day, all of us are united in happiness and pain" said Ben Netanyahu. In order for this to happen, Israel had to pay a big price. In order to get Gilad back, Israel had to release their Palestinian prisoners back to the West Bank.
To read more about where I got my info from check out this article from the NY Times: Gilad Shalit