It's been three years now since Hamas captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid. It is long past time for him to return home.
Presumably being held in Gaza, the young man's condition remains unknown as his family campaigns relentlessly for his release.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged this week to take personal responsibility for his release, vowing to "carry out every effort" to return him home "alive and well, as soon as possible."
His pledge comes amid reports of renewed progress in talks on a potential prisoner swap between Hamas and the Jewish state. Such talks, being mediated by Egypt, had stalled since Netanyahu took office following Ehud Olmert.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was in Egypt this week, discussing the issue with senior officials there. And Netanyahu pledged to push the matter in his meetings in Europe.
Prisoner swaps have always been a thorny issue in Israel; the last thing the nation wants to do is encourage more kidnappings. Yet such swaps are not without precedent and, if handled properly, should be pursued. Israel has always prided itself in never abandoning any of its service members. However difficult it may prove, Shalit's release must remain a top priority.