The Schalit family will spend the eve of the Jewish New Year in their Jerusalem protest tent, Noam, father of captive soldier Gilad Schalit told Israel Radio in an interview Wednesday.
"Another year has passed and Gilad is still not with us," said Noam. "We are in the protest tent, maybe one of the last that remain in Israel, and we are still here. Committees of professors won’t help us, we need leaders to make hard decisions that involve taking risks."
After the countless meetings held between the Schalits and the government, and their tireless efforts to raise awareness, Noam said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must return Gilad, who has been held hostage by Hamas for five years.
"They sent him on a mission almost 2000 days ago, and they haven’t found a way to return him," Noam said. "The price [of returning him] doesn’t change, the price isn’t going down. They have to pay the price to bring him home."
He said that while Netanyahu refused to release terrorists in exchange for Gilad, he has failed to put enough pressure on Hamas via other means.
Noam added that this was not the first time that a solider had been taken hostage, and in reference to previous solider-prisoner exchanges, he said that it seemed as though the government found it easier to deal with soldiers’ coffins than with soldiers that are still alive.
He acknowledged the risk involved in releasing prisoners, of whom dozens may return to terror; however, he added that "the state should know how to to deal with this threat." Otherwise, he asked, "what are we doing here in Israel?"
Asked where the Schalit family still gets their hope from, Noam replied, "We have no choice. If we sit at home and wait, we will never see Gilad again."