Jewish Leaders Hail Release of Gilad Shalit, Praise Netanyahu for Taking "Brave Decision"

Oct 18, 2011, 13:44 ET from World Jewish Congress

Lauder: Hamas cares more for wellbeing of terrorists than ordinary citizens

NEW YORK and JERUSALEM, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Jewish Congress (WJC) today welcomed the release of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit from his captivity in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. "Gilad is finally coming home, which is wonderful news for his family and the entire Jewish people," WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said, adding: "Despite the enormously painful price that only Israel would consider paying, Jewish communities across the globe stand side by side with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet's decision, and they salute Noam and Aviva Shalit for their courage. Their relentless struggle has finally paid off."

The WJC president thanked the Egyptian government, the German mediator and the many others who helped to secure Shalit's release for their tireless efforts. "Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves much credit for taking a brave decision. Despite the heavy price that Israel will pay to Hamas, it was right to conclude the deal," Lauder said. He pointed out: "Hamas fights for the well-being of terrorists much more that it fights for the wellbeing of ordinary citizens."

WJC Secretary-General Dan Diker added: "In part it is the 3,000-year-old Jewish commandment to redeem captives that has brought the leadership of the Jewish nation-state to pay a huge price in this 1,000 for 1 prisoner exchange. The return of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including many directly involved in some of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel's history, to Gaza and the West Bank substantially increases the terrorist threat to Israel. It is therefore vital that Israel retain defensible borders in the strategically vital West Bank, especially the Jordan Valley to prevent terrorists from firing rockets on Tel Aviv or Ben Gurion Airport," said Diker.

He added that "Israel will also need to maintain its vitally important inspections of potential arms ships from Iran and elsewhere attempting to supply Hamas with advanced weaponry. It is in the interest of the world community to support Israel in this task."

About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries around the world. The WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

SOURCE World Jewish Congress