I cried as I watched the Hamas held Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, return to his family while throngs of people waving Israeli flags and singing Am Yisroel Chai (the nation of Israel lives) danced outside. It was a great moment. I’m happy he’s home.
The prisoner exchange that set Shalit free I believe we can label a valuable “teachable moment”. What lessons were learned and what were taught?
We learned that Israelis believes that every life is precious. Israel willingly traded 1027 terrorists – hundreds of them serving multiple life sentences for cold blooded murder – in order to see Shalit returned safely home after over 5 years in captivity without one International Red Cross visit.
It’s an admirable idea – to care for each soldier as if he were everyone’s son, brother, father – and since military service is compulsory – Shalit really does represent everyone. This is why we saw that 80% of Israeli’s supported this exchange.
While we learned that Israel cares about the sanctity of life, and was willing to go to great lengths to save Gilad Shalit – we also taught the terrorists a very important lesson as well: Jewish blood is cheap.
In other words: Kill a Jew, serve a few years and go home a hero.
The modern state of Israel rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust with “Never Again” the watchwords of the Jewish State. With this exchange, “Never Again” became an empty slogan. The idea that Israel was to be a safe haven for Jews, that Jewish blood could never be spilled in vain, is gone.
Some of the most horrific crimes against the citizens of the Jewish state: the 2000 Ramallah lynching, the 2001 Sbarro pizzaria bombing, the 2001 Dolphinarium discotheque bombing, the 2002 Passover massacre bombing, bus bombings and so many more – those terrorists who perpetrated them, or who helped those who carried them out are being freed to carry out more attacks on innocent men, women and children.
Life is precious, however, an innocent life is certainly more precious than the life of a murderer. Until now, Israel has reserved the death penalty for Nazis. It’s certainly way past time to put terrorists to death as well. By allowing these murderers (and some mass murderers) to walk free it minimizes the deaths of those innocents who were killed by those same people.
What of the victim’s families? Their pain never ends. As Sherri Mandel, whose 13 year old son was murdered, explains:
Most people don’t understand the continuing devastation of grief: fathers who die of heart attacks, mothers who get sick with cancer, children who leave school, families whose only child was murdered. We see depression, suicide, symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. You wouldn’t believe how many victims’ families are still on sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication. We see the pain that doesn’t diminish with time. We literally see people die of grief.
In allowing these unrepentant murderers to go free, we see that terrorism truly does work. Every Israeli (and Jew) has now become a target for kidnapping. Calls for another Gilad Shalit have already begun. It’s no surprise. Terrorism works. There is no down-side to kidnapping (or murdering for that matter) Jewish innocents. Kill as many Jews as you would like – you’ll be free in a few years and you can do it all over again.
There needs to be a new lesson taught. That Jewish blood is not cheap. There must not be any murderers held in prison for life sentences awaiting the next exchange. They should be given a trial and executed if guilty. There must be a serious disincentive for spilling Jewish blood. If there isn’t, G-d forbid, we are going to see future exchanges which will only result in more blood spilled.
“Never Again” must really mean Never Again.