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Forum of 7 Cabinet Meeting on Monday Night

bibi2.jpgThe Forum of 7 Inner Cabinet has convened again, beginning at 8:00pm on Monday night. While no one has said so in as many words, it appears the ministers will convene and remain for as long as it takes, hoping to reach a final decision to accept or reject the prisoner exchange deal on the table, calling for the release of about 1,000 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit’s release. At present, the situation appears unchanged and the prime minister holds the decisive vote, with the ministers divided three in favor and three opposed. Whatever decision is made by the inner forum, it will most likely then be presented to the entire cabinet for approval.

Reports indicate that Hamas is unyielding, refusing to accept a demand by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the ‘senior terrorists’ who are released may not be permitted to return to their homes in PA (Palestinian Authority) autonomous areas in Yehuda and Shomron, but they must be deported to Hamas-controlled Gaza or a foreign country. Hamas released a message that the demand is unacceptable and if Israel stands firm, it will result in a deal-breaker.

As was reported on Monday morning, Ministers Lieberman, Ya’alon and Begin oppose the deal, while Ministers Yishai, Meridor and Barak are in favor. The prime minister is the deciding vote, and sources indicate at present, he remains opposed, determined to have the senior terrorists deported.

The meeting was postponed at least three times today, with the prime minister actually traveling home to rest at one point, apparently preparing for a long difficult night. The meeting will be the fifth convening of the inner cabinet on the Shalit matter since Sunday morning.

In the meantime, the parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, have been doing their utmost to pressure cabinet ministers to support the deal, announcing as they see it, this is their son’s final chance to be returned home alive. Kol Chai Radio added that the Shalit’s have also been in touch with Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita, who appears to be in support of the deal. Mrs. Shalit indicated the prime minister informed her earlier in the day that a decision will be reached in the coming hours.

Tami Arad, the wife of missing IAF navigator Major Ron Arad, called on the government not to permit this final opportunity to slip through their fingers, calling the government’s obligation to bring Gilad home a “moral one” that must be fulfilled.

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger Shlita told Kol Chair Radio on Monday evening that he is not in the loop, explaining he is not familiar with all the particulars in the case. He added that if Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita has been briefed, and supports the deal, this is more than adequate for him, stating “my approval is not required if Rav Ovadia supports the move,” which appears to be the case, with Shas announcing it will vote for the deal.

The nation appears truly split, with a bereaved fathers’ organization lobbying against the release, questioning how one soldier can be released when it is known that the 1,000 terrorists will be directly responsible for future bloodshed.

The fathers compare the pending deal with the Munich Agreement of 1938 between Britain and Nazi Germany.

Right-wing NGOs are doing their best to persuade lawmakers too, with some targeting Shas leader R’ Eli Yishai — outraged at him and expressing shock as to how a chareidi lawmaker can vote in favor of the deal.

Other NGOs, affiliated with the centrist and left-wing organizations are of course lobbying their position, support for the move.

Protests are taking place in the capital, for and against the deal.

Rav Metzger detailed some of the halachic complexities of the situation, stating the tzibur must truly be mispalel, and we hope the cabinet ministers will merit the siyata d’shmaiya at this crucial hour, to daven on behalf of Am Yisrael and Gilad ben Aviva, whose fate may be in the hands of the ministers. The Rav stated that he relies on the exceptional Torah knowledge and abilities of Rav Ovadia.

Many are pointing out that it is a most ironic situation, explaining that one does not really know if one should daven for or against the move, viewing Shalit on one side of the equation, and the release of murderers on the other.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

3 Responses

  1. Such serious, difficult decisions.
    Such pathetic, incompetent “leaders” to make them.
    I think we must just daven that HaSh-m guide them to do what is right in HIS eyes.

  2. AinOhdMilvado

    As usual you take a shot at someone in your comments, which are typically devoid of ahavas yisroel
    Perhaps we should all reserve judgment on this excruciatingly tough decision and Daven for Gilad ben Aviva

  3. I still dont understand why those terrorist who have blood on their hands or at least the high profile ones were not executed?!

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