In response to the release of Gilad Shalit, the leaders of the Union of Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and ARZA issued the following statement:
"We rejoice as Gilad Shalit returns to his home and family in Israel after five years in captivity. The vigil that the Shalit family, the Israeli people, and the Jewish community worldwide have kept for all these years, praying and hoping for Gilad's safe return, now comes to an end.
Gilad's homecoming reflects the preciousness with which Israel treats the life of each and every IDF soldier. We know that same regard for life is shared by others in Israel who are pained by the release, under the terms of the prisoner exchange, of those who have committed or been accessories to violence. Their pain is our pain, and as we mourn with the victims of the terrorist attacks, we pray for them and their families to be sustained and healed in body and soul.
Gilad's release brings to a close this painful chapter in Israeli history. We call on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to renounce violence so that no family ever again knows the pain of the Shalits or the horror of terror."
Rabbi Eric Yoffie President of the Union of Reform Judaism
Rabbi David Saperstein Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism