My colleague Anna Hiatt and I went down to get the reactions of Brooklyn residents to the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. She went to the Jewish neighborhood of Midwood, while I spoke to people in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Bay Ridge. (Originally published in The Brooklyn Ink, Thursday Oct. 20th, 2011)
Every diner sits facing the TV watching the Israeli news coverage of Gilad Shalit’s release from captivity. The talk in Pita Off the Corner on East 2nd Street in Midwood is all about the Israeli soldier’s return home after being held prisoner by Hamas for five and a half years. The TV’s volume is pumped up loud enough for everyone to hear the news anchors speaking in Hebrew. There are scenes of Palestinians celebrating the return of 1,027 prisoners freed by Israel in exchange for one man: Shalit. A video montage of his return to Israel plays on the screen.
Yochanan Silvana sits at the front counter unable to look away from the footage of Shalit. She keeps her eyes trained on his thin face as she rings up customers. Footage of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeting Shalit flashes on the screen. Shalit’s eyes are dark and tired, sunk deep in his skull. Silvana shakes her head like a concerned mother and praises Israel for doing what they did to ensure his release. “I don’t care. He’s home,” she says. “He’s home with his mom.” …Read the whole article at The Brooklyn Ink