Monday, July 21, 2008

Doing the Right Thing

June 26, 2006. That’s the day Gilad Shalit was taken captive by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. He was 19 years old, serving his country, and protecting our people.

Hamas is in my view the front line of terror in the state of Israel. They represent the worst in Islam. They consider giving up one’s life in a suicide bombing to be a religious obligation - the highest level of holiness a Muslim can achieve that will realize for him the ultimate reward in the world to come. They also do not believe in compromise. And it is they and others like them who are driving events in the Middle East. Until they are wiped out, there is no hope for a peaceful solution between Arabs and Jews in Israel. There is no talking to them.

This is why dealing with them at any level is wrong. It is against the interests of the State and the welfare of its people. The recent deal with another Islamic terrorist group – Hezbollah - is correctly seen as ultimately bringing more kidnappings and deaths. Any victory they achieve no matter how small will be trumpeted as a major victory of Islam over Israel.

This is how Islamic funementlists like Hezbollah view it. Israel gave them several prisoners in return for the dead bodies of two Israeli soldiers that they murdered and held onto for 2 years. One of those Israel released to freedom whom they welcomed as a national hero – a knight in shining armor – was Samir Kuntar, a brutal Lebanese terrorist responsible for the kidnapping of an Israeli family and murder of three people – including a 31 year old father and his four year old daughter!

There is very little in recent memory that has caused my stomach to turn more than this event. And yet, I understand why it had to be done. It is all too easy for me to be disgusted at the expense of parents and family members of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser the two soldiers whose bodies were exchanged for him and the others.

We now have word that another deal may be in the works. This time for Gilad Shalit. It is believed that he is still alive. The deal it seems is one for 300 - 300 Islamic terrorists among them Marwan Barghouti. He was convicted of five counts of murder in May of 2004.

My advice to Israel: Do the deal.

Again. It turns my stomach. I cannot fathom the pain the relatives of the victims who no doubt still mourn the loss of their loved ones at the hands of Barghouti and the others. Freeing 300 criminals - one of them a mass murder like Barghouti - will no doubt be seen by Hamas as a victory, too. A victory by a group that ought to be treated like Amalek.

And yet there is one more life at stake here – that of Gilad Shalit. By all counts he is still alive and healthy. I can think of no more important matter right now that to gain his freedom. He deserves no less. The government of Israel thinks so too. No one knows better the danger to the nation of granting yet another perceived victory to our mortal enemies than Israel’s political leaders do. Very few leaders have been more villified than the current Prime Minister. Perhaps with justification.

No doubt this exchange will add to that. But Prime Minister Olmert will do the right thing and that is to get Gilad Shalit back. In one piece. He tried doing it with military might and failed. I do not criticize him for trying. Only for failing. No matter who was most directly responsible for the botched war in Lebanon two years ago - the buck stops with him. But now he will succeed without firing a shot - but at great cost.

I am not a big fan of reciting Psalms - saying Tehilim. But I say it every day for Gilad Shalit’s release - as I did for Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser ever since their capture. I have been saying it every day at the end of every Teffilah B’Tzibur along with all the other Mispallelim at Yeshivas Brisk where I Daven Mincha and Maariv.

I pray that - very soon - our Tehilim on behalf of his release will come to a happy conclusion for him, for his family and for all of Klal Yisroel.

May Hamas and all of their fundamentalist murdering cohorts be permanently wiped off the face of the earth. They want to be martyrs?! Let them all commit suicide in Gaza.