When you turn 21 years old in America it is always a cause for celebration. The 21st birthday equals freedom. You are finally an adult. Sure you were driving by 16, watching rated R movies by 17 and serving your country by 18, but 21 is the real moment when you can say give me a beer and mean it.
When you turn 21 years old and you are a kidnapped solider there really isn’t much to celebrate. You don’t care about beer and freedom means more than going to a bar and not worrying about your fake id.
It is a very un-happy birthday for Gilad Shalit who remains a prisoner held captive by the terrorist organization Hamas. His birthday wish is living and one day seeing his family again. In the meantime Israelis will gather at Rabin square in Tel Aviv to have a fake party; trying to show their support and faith, or just keeping the birthday wish alive- keeping Shalit alive.
On the same day that Shalit remains a hostage, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Abu Mazen sit for tea and peace in Jerusalem. The thought is almost as revolting as the reality. I wonder if Olmert is wearing a birthday hat and giving Abu Mazen another goody bag of guns for the terrorists.
There is no birthday cake and yet the candles continue to burn. We are on fire to make peace. Olmert and Abu Mazen dance on coals burning their feet to keep up with the Americans’ peace plan. But the fact that Shalit is still a kidnapped solider should tell us to blow out the candles of the peace process.
Like a child on their birthday, I imagine what the presents are like under the wrapping paper. In the big box is the board game I didn’t ask for, “Get rid of the Settlers”. In a smaller box I see a new map of Israel with the west bank in Palestinian hands and the Syrian Golan Heights. In a present that is only a card I see a gift certificate for buy one and get two free suicide bombers before the final peace process. The card is just a folded piece of paper with the UN Resolution from last summer’s war demanding a cease fire for the return of our soldiers. Just another resolution that has not been resolved.
I think about Shalit and the other kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and hope they have more faith them me. And while my faith diminishes I still wish that the next birthday we celebrate will be freedom for all.