UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that Noam Shalit attended the Tel Aviv prayer rally for the kidnapped boys. This is certainly meritorious, but I do believe he is keeping a low profile, as the nrg statement by him and the accompanying statements by Shimshon Liebman make clear. I stand by my original assessment of the situation.

Last night, a friend and neighbor struck up a chat with me on Facebook. He wrote:

Tell me – is Noam Shalit still alive? Is not now the perfect time for him to come out with some short statement about how he too supports the families, yada, yada, yada? Or does he not say anything about frummies and settlers? I keep wondering if I missed his obit somewhere.

Hmm. Good point. Where indeed is Noam Shalit? I certainly haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since the kidnapping Thursday night. My home is filled with media hounds so I asked around.

Nope. Nada. Nothing. Not a thing.

Wouldn’t you have thought he’d be one of the first people to offer comfort and advice to the families? In any event, wouldn’t you have thought that some smart journalist would have thought to contact him?

Is it possible he refused to give a statement? And if so, why would he do that?

Finally just now, one of my brood dug something up, a brief statement by Noam Shalit to the nrg website (Maariv) accompanied by a longer statement from the guy who ran the social media campaign for Shalit, Shimshon Liebman.

Roughly translated, Noam Shalit said:

We can only hope for good news and we’re praying. We’re not in a position to give advice now and we do not think we can contribute anything to the issue or to the families.

Now I found that rather puzzling. If anyone at all would have advice to give the families, it would be Noam Shalit, who suffered the same dreadful fears for his son’s welfare, and existed in a prolonged state of ignorance on the score of whether or not his son was alive or whether his son was being treated well or perhaps undergoing daily torture. Certainly over the years of Gilad’s captivity, Noam would have found some useful coping techniques he could pass on to the families?

The much longer statement by Shimshon Liebman lent some clarity. He said:

Today we should sit quietly and let the army do its work. Once the situation is resolved, we can bring our perspective to the issue. I reject the accusations that came up in the past few days that terrorists  released during the Shalit deal are behind the recent kidnapping.

Liebman explained that the Israeli Palestinian conflict has always impelled Palestinians to commit terror attacks and kidnappings.

Logic tells me that as long as there’s a conflict here, there will be war and the other side’s weapon of war is kidnapping. That’s how it will be and that’s how it was. All these years they’ve made attempts to kidnap Israelis and it doesn’t matter whether the kidnappers are some guys sitting in Turkey or some other terrorists elsewhere. The logic here is wrong.

In other words, Liebman waves away the identity of the terrorists responsible for these latest kidnappings as immaterial. It could have been any terrorist. Or to paraphrase Hillary Clinton:

What difference does it make?

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton testifies about the Benghazi attack, on Capitol Hill, January 23, 2013 (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton testifies about the Benghazi attack, on Capitol Hill, January 23, 2013 (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Liebman then states, in a further attempt to disassociate the latest kidnapping from the terrorists released in the Shalit exchange:

I respect all those who think otherwise and yet to say that [the Shalit prisoner exchange] was the driving force behind the kidnapping . . . it’s  obvious that our guiding principle is not to leave brothers behind and there’s a risk to that and that guiding principle exists today, too.

 

At some point we’re going to have to negotiate with them and even if Mrs. Shaked will try to lead this government toward legislation against releasing terrorists it won’t change this fact, it will still continue.

 

I have no doubt on one thing and that’s that we’ll have to speak to [terrorists] because the value of not leaving brothers behind has not changed and our responsibility for the kids traveling in the territories is ours because in the end those territories belong to us and we’re committed to them. The question is how big a price will we be willing to pay for them.

 

Can there be a revolt against the guiding principle [of not leaving brothers behind]?

 

I think there can be but it’s still too early to say.

 

I respect all those, however, who think otherwise and continue to insist that [the Shalit prisoner exchange is] what drove the kidnapping.

So to sum up, Shalit [the father] is keeping mum because he can’t bear the accusations that the prisoners released in exchange for his son might have turned around and kidnapped not one boy, as was the case with Gilad, but THREE BOYS. Like the three monkeys, it’s a case of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

(shutterstock)

(shutterstock)

Liebman, on the other hand, is taking the Hillary tack: What difference does it make which terrorists did what?

Both Noam Shalit and Liebman, in my opinion, are evading any sense of responsibility for the natural rise in terror that would result from the massive Shalit prisoner exchange.

Noam Shalit is either ashamed or indifferent to the pain of these new families, which very well might have resulted from the efforts to free his son, Gilad.

Liebman, however, is generous enough to “allow” the Israeli public to disagree with him if they so choose: If they want to think it’s the Shalit release that led to more terror, it’s no skin off his teeth.

Wow. Thanks for being so compassionate and kind.

*shaking my head*

#BringBackOurBoys

Thanks to my son Aharon Epstein for helping me translate the Hebrew. All errors are my own.