Appeal for Gilad Shalit:
For twelve days tens of thousands of Israeli citizens are
marching to protest the continued captivity of Gilad Shalit. Following
is a statement by Elie Wiesel in support of Gilad’s immediate
release.We encourage everyone to get involved by contacting members of
congress and government representatives about this urgent situation.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped four long years ago and has been kept in secret isolation, causing pain and torment to his parents.
Four years of endless suffering and agony.
To the hostage, time itself is torture. It becomes an enemy.
Filled with uncertainty, his time is different from ours. His waiting is
not like ours. His minutes are longer than ours.
When will his Hamas captors realize that even terrorism must
have limits? When will they allow the International Red Cross to visit
him in his prison cell or underground hole? When will the civilized
world raise its voice and demand Shalit’s release? When will NGOs make
their outrage known? When will all good, decent and sensitive men and
women mobilize their energy to put an end to this human scandal?
They must be made to realize that their silence only helps the jailer, never the prisoner.
What is at stake is our honor and our humanity.
As published in The International Herald Tribune, The
Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on April 16, 2010 and in The
New York Times on April 18, 2010:
It was inevitable: Jerusalem
once again is at the center of political debates and international
storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen
times destroyed and seventeen times rebuilt, it is still in the middle
of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has aroused that many passions.
For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem
is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in
Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish
history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish
history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem.
To many theologians, it IS Jewish history, to many poets, a source of
inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a
city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to
explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother’s lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.
Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have
dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman
invaders forbade them access to the city and again, when under Jordanian
occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into
the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last
vestige of Solomon’s temple. It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.
Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and
Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to
certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build
their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.
What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution.
Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most
complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps
which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to
live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most
difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?
Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital,
not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and
hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, “Everything
in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart.”
Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul.
On Irina Bokova's election as Director General of UNESCO:
"UNESCO has escaped a scandal, a moral disaster.Mr. Hosni did
not deserve the job, he does not deserve this honor. This is not
someone, in my opinion, who should have even been a candidate for this
-Elie Wiesel, September 22nd, 2009
Senator Edward Kennedy's passing:
"Together, with our nation, and the whole world, The Elie Wiesel
Foundation mourns the passing of Ted Kennedy. Extraordinary legislator
and statesman, he was the most articulate and passionate humanist in the
U.S. Senate. I vividly recall my conversations with him on vital
issues and events and their moral implications. He was a true leader.
We miss him and we shall never forget him."
-Elie Wiesel, August 26th, 2009
Tamil people statement:
Wherever minorities are being persecuted we must raise our voices
to protest. According to reliable sources, the Tamil people are being
disenfranchised and victimized by the Sri Lanka authorities. This
injustice must stop. The Tamil people must be allowed to live in peace
and flourish in their homeland.
-Elie Wiesel, June 30th 2009