“In the heart of the ocean swam a small, gentle fish.” So begins a tale written by a young Israeli boy in 1997. The naive fifth grader spoke from the hope in his heart when writing the story “When the Shark and the Fish First Met.” His unconditional morality and tremendous ethical beliefs are apparent in every line of the four-page book: the shark and fish, two enemies, meet one day in the sea and decide that, instead of fighting, they should play together. The parents of each are appalled by the idea, and the friends are separated. After a significant period of time, they meet up again and, as each rediscovers the benefit of the other’s company, they fight the animosity they were once taught and work together to relay the newly learned lesson of tolerance.
The author is Gilad Shalit, a name that might sound familiar; the now 21-year-old soldier was abducted in June2006 and is currently being held captive by Hamas in Gaza. Israel received a letter from him in September of 2006, another a few months ago, and a voice recording as well. There is a general optimism that he remains alive, but talks for negotiations are less positive. As I see it, the conflicting of two of the country’s policies is stopping him from being freed: Israel has a commitment to every soldier, promising to do anything and everything in their power for the safety of the individual; but at the same time, Israel remains extremely reluctant to negotiate with terrorists and, judging by the recent actions of Gazans, rightfully so.
So what should Israel do? The decision is far from easy; it’s been 604 days since Gilad’s kidnapping and the ongoing troubles lead his close family and friends to believe that the world has forgotten. I find that “the proof is in the pudding.” The irony to me is that the best way for the government to resolve the issue is to read Gilad’s book. The resounding message of partnership and acceptance he leaves the reader with is, in my opinion, the answer Israel has long been searching for.
CHECK OUT THESE LINKS:
1. Read more about Gilad Shalit
2. Read the full story “When the Shark and the Fish First Met”
3. Listen to this voice recorded message from Gilad while in captivity.
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