On October 18, 2011, Israelis gave soldier Gilad Shalit a hero welcome after his release by Hamas in exchange for 435 Palestinian prisoners, mostly civilians abducted by Jewish soldiers. On that day, the country held its breath. Service in banks came to a halt because clerks could not stop watching the live video of Shalit’s movements, from Gaza to Egypt and then from Egypt to Israel. All over the country, banners and signs were hung, welcoming him home. Gilad was everyone’s son, everyone’s brother. To Israelis, his release was arguably the most significant event of the last 10 years. The exuberance at his return drowned out whatever protests existed of the deal that was made to bring him home.
Zionist prime minister Netanyahu was among the Israeli leaders who met and praised Shalit on his arrival in Israel. Corporal Shalit was promoted to Sergeant Major by then Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and called him a “hero”.
Now, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Canada has invited Shalit as a guest speaker for fundraising events in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, starting from September 16, 2013. The invitation has angered several pro-Israel Jewish groups which consider Shalit as shame to Israel for not defending his fellow soldiers from Hamas fighters.
The JNF venture is supported by the Canadian Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
The anti-Shalit campaign is lead by powerful Jewish B’nai B’rith Canada. On June 16, its official newspaper, The Jewish Tribune, published a commentary in which Harry F. Smith from Montreal wrote: “What a foolish idea it is for Jews to herald and fęte a young man who is a hero and symbol of victory – to the Palestinian world. Perhaps it is the Palestinians residing in Canada who should be given front row seats. They surely would bask in the glory of our shame.”
Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas fighters from inside Merkava tank on June 25, 2006 while two other inmates ( Hanan Barak and Pavel Slutzker) were killed and one wounded in the attack. As part of ‘Jewish vengeance’, Jewish army conducted several failed military operations (Operation Summer Rains, Operation Cast Lead, etc.) to rescue Shalit from Hamas captivity.
Gilad Shalit’s father, Noam Shalit, told British daily The Guardian (March 15, 2012) that Hamas had every right to capture Israeli soldiers. “I will kidnap Israeli soldiers if I were a Palestinian,” Noam said.
Israeli hero-soldier shames Canadian Jews | Rehmat's World