The safe return of Gilad Shalit to his family and to his freedom is a sight Jews around the world have been praying and campaigning for since his capture on 25 June 2006. Our prayers have been answered, and we rejoice for and with Gilad and his family.
The concept of Pidyon shevuyim, the redemption of captives, is a fundamental mitzvah in Judaism, and the sanctity and significance of a single life one of our highest values. Israel has again shown it is willing to pay a heavy and painful price to uphold one of its most sacred values, and we hope this is a step forward in the pursuit for peace in the Middle East.
Every life is precious, and that is why, on this day, we also remember the victims of terror who have been killed at the hands of many of those released today, as well as those Israeli soldiers who remain missing in action. We continue to pray for their safe and speedy return, and that they too will one day soon know what it is to be free.
Sources: Office of the Chief Rabbi