Debate in Canada Over Shalit’s Visit

B’nai Brith Canada suggests that Gilad Shalit’s invitation by JNF to speak, casts a message of weakness.

By Arutz Sheva North America


B’nai Brith Canada, using its newspaper the Jewish Tribune, has criticized the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for inviting former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as a guest speaker to address audiences in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver this coming September.

Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in June of 2006 during a patrol just outside Gaza, was dragged back to Gaza and held captive for more than five years.

He was freed in late 2011 in exchange for over 1,000 terrorists imprisoned in Israel.

The Jewish Tribune’s Israel correspondent, Atara Beck, noted that an IDF investigation into the kidnapping revealed that Shalit had not paid much attention to the briefing before the patrol, did not open fire at the terrorists, and was unaware of the fact that there were other soldiers in the area because he had not listened carefully to the briefing.

Two IDF soldiers, Hanan Barak and Pavel Slutzker, died in the same attack.

Beck said that many in the Canadian Jewish community are questioning JNF Canada’s decision to bring Shalit to Canada as a guest speaker, fearing that this may broadcast a message of weakness rather than heroism.

The same issue of the Jewish Tribune featured a letter to the editor signed by Harry Smith from Montreal, who said that bringing Shalit to Canada as a guest speaker is “a foolish idea”.

“Perhaps it is the Palestinians residing in Canada who should be given front row seats. They surely would bask in the glory of our shame,” wrote Smith, adding, “This young man is, by his own admission, a stumblebum. He could not be bothered to even bring his weapon out of his vehicle. In fact, he never bothered listening to instructions. He anticipated stumbling his way through army service.… What were his superiors thinking? Why didn’t they just put him on kitchen duty? A few more like this hero and Israel will cease to exist.”

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