A Soldier Comes Home

For five years, Gilad Shalit was held captive by Hamas for fighting for his country, Israel. After the global fight to get him back – the art work, the protests, the diplomacy and the hundreds of Facebook users who put his photo as theirs, he returns home. This week is the celebration of Sukkot, a holiday we celebrate our good harvest. And for an exchange of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, Israel got their harvest as one soldier returns.

Yesterday, I saw a performance by the soulful singer India Arie together with Idan Raichel, the Justin Timberlake of Israel (only a very different kind of music). Together they performed songs in Hebrew, sang one another’s lyrics and celebrated for a brief moment the return of Shalit. While the Beacon Theater was filled seat to seat mostly with Jewish and African American New Yorkers, it was incredible to see the global effort that was taking place on that stage. Despite color, religion, sexual preference, background, the two brought in artists from all walks of life to join them on the stage. They hope next year they will have Palestinian musicians on their stage too.

Just to get a glimpse of how magical they are together, watch their performance for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in 2010. The message is: “We can debate until the end of time who is wrong and who is right. Or I’ll honor your choices and you can honor mine.”

While there is debate going on about whether that was a smart move on Israel’s part to release so many prisoners, while there were protesters outside of the Idan Raichel show protesting G-d knows what, while there are protestors down in Wall Street fed up with the system, I would say that this week, Israel and the musicians on the stage last night, chose to see the good. The opportunity was to save one guy, to touch one person in the audience, and they did.