Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chag Sameach Gilad!

Exactly two years ago there was talk in the air about a deal with Hamas to release hundreds of terrorist Palestinians in Israeli prisons in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. I was in favor of that deal. Even though it meant an increased level of danger for Jews all over the world, especially in Israel.

Yesterday almost exactly two years later that deal (or a version of it) was finally made. And I thank God for it. Gilad Schalit is a free man, home with his parents in time for Simchas Torah. Just as I can’t imagine the pain and anguish felt by his parents over these past five years so too I cannot imagine the Simcha his family must feel at this moment. It almost brings a tear of joy to my eye.

The question being asked by many – especially in the Dati community is: was it worth the price. As I understand it, they do not think so. In fact I believe some religious Zionist rabbis actually ‘Paskined’ against it! Fortunately Shas was in favor of it as was the entire Israeli cabinet! And if I am not mistaken the Charedi rabbinic leadership was in favor of it too.

I completely understand where the Dati community is coming from. They are concerned that these terrorists will ‘do it again’. They fear that more Israelis will be killed by these murderers. They consider it a virtual certainty. So they feel one life in exchange for the many is certainly not warranted. They will cite statistics showing released terrorists in the past were responsible for many additional murders of Jews. And they see only the likelihood that it will happen again. This is certainly a legitimate fear. I too have this fear. Indeed no Jew in the world is safe as long as these proven murderers now roam free. So afraid are they of this that some of them actually tried to petition the Israeli high court to stop the deal! Fortunately for Gilad Schalit and his family they did not get their way.

I have to ask: Do Palestinian terrorists really lack the means or motivation to strike at will?And have we no faith anymore in Israeli security forces who have apporved the deal?

To these who say that this should not have happened I must ask the question. Why should Gilad Schalit have to pay the price for your safety? Is it because he was guarding his country in uniform when he was kidnapped? Or is it just an attitude of ‘tough’! We cannot put the rest of Israel at risk just because he happened to get caught.

No one has a right to ask for that kind of sacrifice of another just because it increases the level of danger. The only right anyone has along these lines is to offer himself or one of his children in exchange for Schalit as a hostage. Short of that it is the height of selfishness to deny the conditions for his release from captivity if it does not involve killing anyone. That would of course be a different story. But they did not ask us to do that.

They wanted an exchange of prisoners. And lopsided though it may have been – it is worth the price! There seemed to be no other option for Israel to get him out! And the only thing that kept Shcahlit alive is the fact that he had ransom value to them. The minute they would have realized that Israel would never negotiate for Schalit… well as I said two years ago – think Daniel Pearl!

As for those terorrists – the one’s responsible for even s single death ought to be hunted down by the Israel Mossad and ‘liquidated’. But that is a separate issue. The main thing is that Gilad Schalit is a free man now – unharmed by his captors. At least physically – although he looked great in all the media photos of him just after his release.

So even though the threat of terror has increased for the Jewish people today, I say Hodu LaShem Ki Tov’. Thank God for His goodness in allowing the leaders of Israel to have wisdom to finally do the right thing! And may God protect us from evil!

Good Yom Tov.