Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated on Wednesday his belief that Israel Defense Forces soldiers must be willing to risk their lives in service of their country and that the government would not pay any price for the return of Gilad Shalit, who has been languishing in Hamas captivity for over three years.
“The time has come to say bluntly: Combat troops and soldiers arrive with the knowledge that the task of fulfilling their missions entails a willingness to risk their lives and that the fighters have that willingness to undertake the mission,” Barak said.
The defense minister raised eyebrows on Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with high-school students, when he retorted that the tone of the public discussion surrounding the Shalit affair has included “whining.”
“We cannot blur the basic truth,” Barak said. “We are a generation of fighters and in the Middle East, there is no mercy for the weak and there will not be a second opportunity for those who do not know how to defend themselves.”
“A society that looks to survive must prepare its youth to stand together,” the defense minister said. “We have a moral responsibility as commanders to bring back Shalit and we will make every possible and worthy effort to bring him home, but not at any price. We cannot get carried away by words that have no basis in fact.”