Friday, July 18, 2008

Put up or shut up

"Do you think about the things you do think about?" ~Clarence Darrow

I thought I knew what I thought about the swap. I wrote about it. I read Treppenwitz's article and the Seraphic Secret article and found myself nodding.

But I also found myself shaking my head.

You see, I had an interesting chat on the subject of the swap with a co-worker yesterday. She is a sabra and a newlywed. Both she, her husband and probably most of their friends and relatives did service and her husband does milu'im (reserve duty). Anyway, when I brought up the swap, with my holding a "we are opening ourselves up to more kidnappings" position, her opinion was that the swap was the right thing to do. My manicurist and her daughter (also Israelis, also did the army, also have family members who serve) had a similar opinion. I did not check, but I suspect that if I were to call up my friend Rachel and ask her for her husband's opinion on the matter--he has opinions on everything and in particular this, as he fought in the Second Lebanon War--it would probably be a lot more similar to that of my coworker and my manicurist than to my own.

As they put it--soldiers put their lives on the line because they know that we are behind them. Israel does not desert her soldiers and if she could she expect anyone to serve? Yes, the trade sucks, but we have done them before and we will do them again. We have a moral obligation to bring the boys home. It should also be pointed out that those doing the service already feel like they are getting shit on between the draft dodging, reserve duty dodging, low enlistment rates from wealthier communities and blanket exemptions granted to the Haredi community. Suffice it to say that to add a policy of desertion to the mix will not do much to improve morale.

In general I have found that the opinions, including my own, become a lot more hard core the further the person is removed from the reality. One has the luxury of being "idealistic" when it is all theoretical anyway. For me, to the extent that I have no children in the army, have never had children in the army, did not serve myself, have no spouse who served or who doing reserve duty...and in short, can propose policies "risk free", I have that luxury. So do a lot of you. Not all of you--but a lot of you.

I think it is time we take on some of the risk. It is easy enough to do. As my father likes to say: put up or shut up.

Take a stand. I invite each of you who condemns the trade to take a stand now. Let us suppose that tomorrow, your mother or your father or your spouse or one of your children are kidnapped. No one knows for sure if they are alive or dead. Tell the world now what your preference is. Can we negotiate? Can we trade? Or do we let your loved one rot? If your loved one is dead, okay, so you are giving up on a corpse and some closure. You will suffer but they will not. But if they are are abandoning them to a life in hellish captivity.

Please state your beliefs for the world to know, so that when this happens to you, when it is no longer theoretical, when it is no longer something happening far away or at least to somebody else in another community, when it is your little boy or your little girl or your spouse, we can hold you to it. When you cry to the world "but that is my baby..." the world can tell you "sorry, but we don't negotiate with terrorists and you agreed with that rule!"

It is not that easy, is it? I am not saying that I think that the swap was necessarily a great idea. To be honest, I am just as conflicted as I was before. But I do think that one must recognize how complex the issue is.

Hezbollah is heinous. We are not as mean and nasty and vile and unspeakably evil as Hezbollah...but do we want to be? Is that really our goal?


RivkA with a capital A said...

What makes you assume that those who oppose the swap did not serve in the army and do not serve in milu'im?

That is a falst assumption.

If you want, I can give you a long list of Israelis (sabras and olim) who have served in the army, serve in milu'im and found the swap abhorent!

SuperRaizy said...

Very thought provoking.

Gila said...


You forgot to take a stand. When it is your child or you or your husband, what should we do?

Let us know, so that we can do the right thing.

Risa Tzohar said...

OK, here are my qualifications:
41 years in Israel
husband a combat soldier (ret.) who did miluim in the north until age 45 and participated in the First Labanese War (called Shlom Hagalil)
3 combat soldier sons - one fought in this war in Maroon-a-ras and Bing-bail (sp something like that).

As a mother and wife I would of course do what I have to to keep the issue alive and bring about a speedy homecoming. NO argument there.

Governments and armies are NOT mothers and fathers. The army is supposed to protect the citizens (mothers, fathers, babies, old folks etc.), that's their job. Anyone who has attended a swearing in ceremony (in the army where they give your kid a rifle and a bible) should know that the pledge that they swear (or affirm) says they are willing to die for their country. Any mother who is actually listening has to shiver when she hears this. But that's what it's about.

Governments have to look out for the good of everyone. That means using their power to order our lives, make rules so each individual's self-interest doesn't come at the expense of the general welfare of everyone else. They can't just pretend they are fathers and mothers just like everyone else.

The Goldwassers and the Regevs acted as I would and should. It is the government, who messed up. The swap yesterday was the only thing left to do after they failed miserably both in the fighting of the war, the diplomatic outcome of the war and the handling of the negotiations and public relations aspect of the hostage situation.

So, you and your colleague are both 'right' the swap stinks, it's bad for all of us, it's going to make it worse for all of us but we expect it.

Maybe next time we'll be smarter sooner.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Risa. The government must act like one. Quite frankly, this has been repeated over and over again, because of this repeated stupidity of costly exchanges. And other families be affected again in the future.

Now, what does this tell future organization that pull off this crap: We can get everything we want just by nabbing a soldier (or possibly a civilian in the future)! Even better, we don't have to keep them alive and to tell anyone anything about them and we'll get our guys back alive!

Clearly defined guidelines must be in place in print for government action (and for media interaction). What I find most irritating is people's obsession with America in Israel. Well in the US, there is no negotiation with terrorists for those captured. The result is horrible for the families, but it makes it clear that this tactic doesn't work well for those guys in Iraq. And most importantly, the media doesn't make a ridiculous Telanovela out of it like they did here.

And what makes this situation worse, was the even with the soldiers did not only affect the families, it affected 1/3 of the country. 1/3, including myself, had to sit through an idiotically executed war. When things get expanded to such a degree, they better think twice, thrice or more about such decisions.

We did not get peace when we pulled out in 2000, instead there was mortars and shelling and shooting on border towns since. Soldiers were kidnapped walking the border. What happened then? We released people for them. What did we get coffins and one bloody criminal. What happened after the 2004 exchange? What? Surprise! Soldiers were kidnapped yet again in 2006! Even better, the Palestinians did the same with Shalit! Who can guess what will in the future?

Anonymous said...

If someone would have captured you Gila I would ask them where I should send my monthly cheque.

Once you get used to custody and start telling everybody what to do your kidnappers will realise what they themselves have done to themselves.
They even will escort you back to your appartment to make sure you lock the door from the inside.

To negotionate you show your weak side, you send in the Bears From Hell to make sure they think twice before even thinking about capturing people.

Anonymous said...

please read daniel gordis:When Mistakes Are Worth Making
July 18, 2008
For some strange reason, I remember the scene with clarity. I was in the kitchen, early on a Friday afternoon about a month ago, cooking Shabbat dinner. Micha, our youngest, now 15, was hanging out in the living room. The radio was on in the background, and on the hour, the news came on. It was over in minutes, and then the music returned.

I hadn't really paid attention to the news, but Micha apparently had. "Do you think we're ever going to get Gilad Shalit back?" he asked. Without even looking at him, I said, without even thinking, "Of course we are. Definitely."

"You don't know that," a different voice piped in. Now, I looked up. Avi, his older brother, was unexpectedly home. "We may get him back, and we may not. How can you possibly say that we definitely will?" But the conversation was over. Micha, overjoyed to see Avi, had quickly followed his brother upstairs, and I was left alone in the kitchen. So I never got to answer Avi.

But had he pressed, and had Micha not been around, I would have said to him, "Why did I say that? Because when he hears the news each and every day, the only thing that your brother thinks about is the fact that you're about to get drafted. And he's beyond worried; he's panicked. Because he worships the ground you walk on. And he needs to believe, to know. He needs to believe that you're going to be OK. And he wants to know that though he lives in a country that asks its kids to do everything, to commit everything, that country also knows that it owes them everything in return. And getting them home - no matter what has happened to them - is part of that."

I never said any of that to Avi, but I recalled that conversation several times during this agonizing week of prisoner exchanges, of returned coffins, of funerals expected but still tear-stained, of Hezbollah celebrations and of all the columnists who insist that the trade was a terrible idea, that you don't trade Samir Kuntar for two dead bodies, that they were "deeply ashamed to be an Israeli [and] not very proud of being a Jew either," that we've weakened our bargaining position in the future, and, according to Rabbi Menachem Froman, that we've even made peace more difficult to attain, that Israel is committing suicide, and that we have now officially given the Hezbollah the crown of victory in the Second Lebanon War.

So, in the face of all the good arguments about how no self-respecting country trades a almost two hundred dead bodies and several living terrorists including Samir Kuntar (who, we should recall, shot a man at point blank range in front of his four-year-old daughter, and then killed the girl by smashing her skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle - and all this at the ripe old age of 17) for two soldiers who were almost certainly dead, how does one justify this decision? Wasn't it certainly a mistake?

Yes, in strategic terms, it was probably a mistake. But sometimes mistakes are worth making. Take the Disengagement. It is now clear that the Disengagement from Gaza was a horrifying, costly and still painful mistake. But - and I realize that this is not a popular position - it was a mistake that Israel needed to make. It was the mistake that proved, once and for all, that the enemies we face have no interest in a state of their own. They just want to destroy ours. That is what Israelis learned, now without a doubt, as a result of the Disengagement. There's almost no one left around here myopic enough to imagine even for an instant that further retreats will get us peace. OK, there are still a few arm-chair peace-niks in the States, insisting that there is simply no conflict that cannot be resolved. But here? Precisely the opposite. Now we know that the right was correct - further retreats will only embolden our enemies. They'll demand more. And more. Until we're gone.

The benefits of that lesson are understandably of no consolation to the families who paid so dearly in the summer of 2005, who are still living in temporary housing, whose marriages didn't survive, whose livelihoods have never been restored, whose children hate the country that did that to their parents - but despite all that, the Disengagement was probably a horrifying mistake that Israel needed to make. For now we know, even those of us (and I include myself) who were naïve enough to imagine something else. Peace is not around the corner. Peace is not a year or two away. Peace is not possible. Not now. Not a year from now. Not a decade from now. Because their issue isn't a Palestinian State; it's the end of the Jewish one. We learned that through the mistake we made in 2005, a mistake that we probably needed to make.

And that's why we had to make the trade this week. Yes, according to a variety of strategic criteria, the trade was problematic. It may raise the price for Gilad Shalit (not that those negotiations have been going anywhere, of course). It may affect future prisoners of war.

But if it was a mistake, it was a calculated mistake, a mistake well worth making. It was a mistake worth making when we think about what is the real challenge facing Israel. The challenge facing Israel isn't to win the war against the Palestinians. The war can't be won. We can't eradicate them, and they won't accept our being here. The challenge that Israel faces is not to move towards peace. Peace can't be had. No - the challenge facing Israel is to learn how to live in perpetual, never-ending war, and in the face of that, to flourish, and to be a country that our kids still want to defend. And that is what we did this week.

I didn't watch much of the Hezbollah celebration on television. I just couldn't stomach it. I watched enough, though, to see the crowd cheering a man whose main accomplishment in life has been smashing a girl's skull with his rifle - after he made her watch while he killed her father. I watched enough to hear about how Mahmoud Abbas - our alleged peace partner - congratulated the same Kuntar on his release. I watched enough to chuckle at the sight of Kuntar in a decorated Hezbollah uniform - even though Hezbollah didn't even exist when he perpetrated his murders and was captured. I watched enough to be reminded of what (the word "who" somehow doesn't feel appropriate) it is that we're still fighting.

But I'll confess to having watched more than my share of the Israeli side. On the morning of the trade, I woke up and like many Israelis, I thought to myself, "Who knows, maybe all the intelligence reports are wrong. Perhaps one of them will walk across the border, or maybe still be on a stretcher." Maybe. This is a county that doesn't easily give up on hope. Our anthem, after all, says od lo aveda tikvateinu - "Our hope is not yet lost." So I watched the live feed that morning, waiting along with the rest of this breathless nation, until we saw the two black coffins.

And I watched the soldiers standing at attention - and weeping - as the bodies were transported into Israeli trucks and driven into Israel. I watched the thousands of people who, the next day, lined the roads on the way to the cemeteries. I watched Karnit Goldwasser's extraordinary eulogy for her husband (click on the picture of her to watch the video - it's worth watching the full seven minutes even if you don't understand Hebrew). I watched a country that is about life, and yes, even love, not about the celebration of death and hatred.

We did the right thing. We gave Karnit Goldwasser her life back. We gave Udi and Eldad the burial they deserved. We gave their parents some certainty, and with it, the hope that maybe, just maybe, they, too, can start to live again, even with the searing pain that will never subside. And perhaps most importantly, we showed the next generation of kids who will go off to defend this place that this is not a country about calculus, but about soul. We showed them what it is to love. We showed them that we'll get them back. No matter what.

And I was proud, not ashamed. I wasn't ashamed to be Israeli. I wasn't ashamed to be a Jew. We proved to our kids once again that we're the kind of country that's worth defending.

There are those who claim that by making this trade, we've now formally admitted that Hezbollah won the Second Lebanon War. But, really, was there anyone who did not already know that? Have we forgotten the Winograd Commission and its two devastating reports about the government's conduct of the war? Have we forgotten the report that showed that, weeks before Udi and Eldad were killed, the army knew that the reservists they were sending there were sitting ducks, but that no changes in deployment were made? Have we forgotten the IDF Chief of Staff who left the War Room in the first hours of the war to go sell part of his stock portfolio? Have we forgotten the most cynical of political arrangements that got us as a Defense Minister a labor organizer who didn't even pretend to know the first thing about military matters, but who still insisted on playing a role in the conduct of the war? Have we forgotten the mayors of some towns in the North who fled their own cities when the rockets started to fall? Have we forgotten the horrific non-use and then mis-use of ground troops, the arrogance of a former Air Force commander who imagined that he'd win the war from the air? Have we really forgotten already how badly we lost? Does anyone really imagine that this trade gives them the victory? Please.

We lost. We knew that already. What we did this week is that we did right by the families who paid the price. We showed that at the end of the day, it's not only strategic calculus that matters in this country. There will be other ways to get our deterrent edge back. We'll get around to that; there's sadly no way that Hamas in the West, Hezbollah in the North, Syria to the east of them and Iran off in the distance will not force us to. We'll attend to that in due course.

But in the meantime, we showed ourselves once again that this country is about soul. They won, and we lost. They celebrated, and we buried. They cheered, and we wept. And I'd rather be one of us, any day.

Wednesday night, we drove Micha to the airport to drop him off for his flight to the States. The radio was on during the entire drive, and we listened to the interviews with people who'd known Udi and Eldad, the constant updates on the plans for the two funerals to be held the following day. "I feel bad being excited about going on vacation," he said to us on the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. "It's a sad day here."

"Yes," we told him, "it's a sad day, but it's OK for you to be excited. Going to America is a big deal." He didn't say anything. We got off at the exit for the airport, pulled up to the security checkpoint, still surrounded by all those guys with the submachine guns at the ready, because the war's not over and it's not going to be. I turned off the radio so I could talk to the young woman manning the checkpoint. After a few quick words, we were ushered through.

It was quiet in the car. We followed the access road to the departure terminal, each lost in our own thoughts. I don't know what Micha was thinking. But I'm pretty sure that it was about the two soldiers. About the funerals the next day. About his brother. And about America.

We pulled to the curb, still not saying anything. I stopped the car, and said to him, "OK, buddy, let's go." Micha looked at me. "I'm really going to miss this country," he said.

I was stunned. Not, "I'm going to miss you," but "I'm going to miss this country." And then, if I'd had any doubt before, I knew. We did the right thing. If we made a mistake, we made the mistake that we just needed to make. We taught our kids that we may not know how to end this war, but we do know how to take care of them.

And he taught us, too. He reminded us that even the kids here understand what an extraordinary country it is that they call home. That this is sometimes a scary place. But that it's also a country that a teenager knows he can love, that he's going to miss and that one day, he'll defend.

In the end, that's what matter most. Even on the saddest of days. Especially on the saddest of days.

Unknown said...

I have read your post, reread it, and waited several hours before responding. And even so, I am not certain my words will accurately articulate my sentiments....

I can't imagine that there is a single Israeli parent who hasn't already indulged in your gruesome fantasy of considering "what if that were my child." We are all too well aware of the "there but for the grace of G-d go I" reality of our lives here.

This has been a terribly emotional week. As a parent, I am in agony when I think about the Regev and Goldwasser families losing their sons, brothers, spouse. As a parent, I am humbled by the courage and generosity that Dani Haran's mother showed in her words and actions. As the wife of a veteran, and the mother of two sons who will one day serve this country, I understand the desperate need to believe that we will under any circumstances do right by our soldiers who fall to enemy hands.

As a woman who loves her family, I understand that this sentiment of love is not exclusive to me-and-mine -- rather, this familial bond we call love is the natural state of affairs.

I think if you insist we all ask ourselves “what if this were your child?,” that we must also then ask ourselves, “what if the release of your child endangered the lives of countless others?”

Not so simple now is it.

Much as it broke my heart to read about the soldiers who are organizing declarations (al pi Rabbi Meir "the Maharam" of Rothenberg) stating that they do not wish to be redeemed should they fall captive, I was also moved by this knowledge. What a terrible thing for our soldiers to have to anticipate. But anticipate it we all must. If this week has taught us anything, it has taught us that we must anticipate the worst of our enemies or we will sacrifice more children, more parents, more spouses….

You are right Gila. “We are not as mean and nasty and vile and unspeakably evil as Hezbollah.” And, no – for the record – we don’t want to be.

David also dealt with this issue in his post today.

Gila said...

Risa--well said....

Anon--that is interesting--the US does not negotiate for POW's? How has it gotten them back? (I was completely unaware of this--am genuinely curious).

Kleine--so you are saying that if I were kidnapped, I could cure Hamas and Hezbollah of their kidnapping fetish? :)

Anon (2) Read it--will have to mull it over. I am not sure why he dragged the Disengagement and the whole peace process in there.... I will try to focus on what he said on this topic only.

"what if the release of your child endangered the lives of countless others". I actually thought that this question was effectively included in the original one. The reason that the decision is a tough one is davka BECAUSE there is that element of risk. Otherwise, it would not be a difficult decision; it would be a no-brainer--make the trade. That being said, I can say that I do not feel that my own personal life is worth endangering the lives of countless others. I assume that, were I to have children, my opinions in respect to the value of their lives would be radically different!

I wrote this post because I have been really disturbed by the wholesale slamming of the deal on various blogs and the careless dismissal of the needs of the families and our moral obligation of the State of Israel towards its soldiers. I have been particularly bothered by the fact that a lot of these hard-core, "fuck the families" views have been coming from people who are overseas/not serving and are not bearing the risk of being one of the aforementioned fucked families.

It does not detract from our character or our strength as a nation to acknowledge that this has been a horribly tough decision, that there is no perfect solution, that there are many very valid reasons to support or oppose the swap and that just because your opponent sees something as weakness, that does not mean it is. In the long run, our tendency to care about one another could well turn out to be a strength. And to hell with Hezbollah and how they look at it.

Anonymous said...

Yes ...............................
And all would be calm on the net, not you upsetting all those people from abroad, the tax evaders or the ones who find it normal to let the other do the dirty work.

You have to be there when you have to be there.

Anonymous said...

The Hamas reaction to the swap has put the final seal of disapproval on this whole shoddy deal.
The government, by softening to the heartrending cries of Carmit Goldwasser, abdicated all responsibility for future generations of Israeli children and Israeli soldiers.
Terrorists can now crush the skulls of our daughters with impunity; they will be given a hero's welcome when they are released, for their eventual release is no longer in doubt.
They can kill our sons in uniform and merely hide their bodies; there is no longer any need to keep them alive. In fact, Gilad Shalit is now in grave danger.
There is no up-side. This was an enormously costly mistake that will take a generation and much bloodshed to rectify.
Shame on the government. Shame on us all.

Gila said...

Anon-so, if I understand you correctly, when they kidnap your child, no matter how much it hurts you, or how wracked you are with grief and doubt and worry, the correct stance of the government is to say "we are terribly sorry, but no dice", declare your child dead (even if there is some amount of doubt) and move on.

I am actually not criticising here; this is more or less the position I have in respect to my own life. However the point of this post is that I want to know where people really stand. I want people to really think about the complexity and the enormity of the pain involved in this matter. There is no better way to do that than to just try to put yourself in the shoes of Karmit or Miki Goldwasser and ask yourself, in all honesty--"would I be advocating the same position I am now if it were my spouse or my child". Your answer very well may be "yes". But if so, please say so. Tell me that you have thought about it and that you believe in this enough to pay that price, if G-d demands it from you.

To my eyes, if you would not be willing to pay the price yourself if G-d put you in that position, than your "stance" is just empty talk.

Gila said...

To tell you how I look at it.... I cannot identify with a parent since I have never had children. But I can imagine myself in Karmit's shoes--sort of. Karmit's shoes as they would fit me. I imagine myself finally, after all these years, finding my beschert. I imagine him being kidnapped...and after thinking G-d had finally answered my prayers, being condemned to a life of uncertainty and being alone. I think I would just go insane. Honestly--I would go bonkers. You would have to lock me up.

A Soldier's Mother said... goes. I have been all over the fence on this one and everytime I declare which side of the fence I have landed...something shifts and I find myself jumping once again. The one thing I cannot handle, the one thing I cannot even begin to think about, is if it were Elie, if it were my son who is a combat soldier. No, that is beyond my ability and so I won't.

I thought it was wrong - for all the reasons we all know: the ultimate price, the absurdity of exchanging an animal like Kuntar for two dead bodies, and on and on.

Then, I heard Karnit Goldwasser ask for some time to be alone with her pain. This was before the swap and I thought (and wrote)..."she knows" and with that, I jumped to the other side of the fence because I couldn't stand the idea of her suffering any more. When I thought she was deluding herself into thinking they would come back alive, I had an easier time. She's wrong; they aren't alive, I thought to myself, and so, by extension, she's probably wrong about doing the deal.

When I heard her voice and realized that she knows she is a widow, she is asking us to do what she believes is right for Udi...but who will do what is right for her?

Then, on the day of the exchange, when I saw the coffins, I jumped back to the other side. For this pain, for these tears and agony...for this we left Kuntar go?

A woman who has a son in the army told me that her son told her that if he is captured - dead or alive, she should not let Israel trade for his return. He and his friends in the army were going to sign a petition and send it to the army.

I don't want to hear such things from Elie. It would break me into more pieces than I could possibly put back together.

BTW, Gila, with all due respect, RifkA is right...many, many who serve and served were against this agreement. And you can't ask us to imagine what it would be like if it were our son or husband because the issue here wasn't the family doing wrong - but perhaps the government.

No family wants their son declared dead; no family wants to abandon their loved one. If you ask them permission to do these things, they won't give it. That was the mistake of the government and rabbanut, now and with the other three soldiers. There was enough evidence in both cases that they could have been declared dead with their burial places unknown.

There was always the small likelihood that they were alive - but our refusing to believe it might have done one of two things: caused them to kill them...or caused them to prove they were alive. Without proof, we should have refused any negotiations - proof in either direction.

I think that's what went wrong here - both in terms of the negotiations and in terms of the countries ability to cope.

So - this doesn't help, because I, like many, have been all over the fence - so I'll leave with one final word. I don't know what was right, but I know what was wrong. I know that we should feel Daniel Gordis said (and, no, I don't think he was right about the disengagement) and I'm not sure we did the right thing...but we did, I think, the Israeli thing...and the greatest shame goes to the Lebanese, to the Arab world, to the UN - whose "soldiers" saluted the coffins in Lebanon. I know that I can sleep at night and maybe that is what Karnit needed too.

Anonymous said...

It wonders me to see how intense we do hang to this "being" we call life.
When his or her time comes we will die and maybe we will find out there something to be after death.
There in my opinion is no difference between being a parent or being alone, we all do have parents and have more or less done sacrifices in life.
In my opinion I am on this world to leave something behind to help the generations which will follow mine.

I am no hero, needles and dentists do give me the shivers, if I would be requested to do something decent what might cost me my life I would do it.

Gila we rurals do not often get to hospitals or doctors, you have through the years seen all the inns and outs of a hospital.
What in the world is a manicurist, the word makes me feel uncomfortable.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Having blogged about this issue, and reflected on it, I refuse to take a stand on the issue today.

Not that I'm a fan of his, but the following statement sums up what I think.

Netanyahu was asked what he would do, if he was Prime Minister, and his son was captured like Gilad Shalit.

His answer was that he would remove himself from the decision making process because he could not be impartial and honestly consider Israel's security concerns -- since his parental concerns would be over-riding.

That said, I have blogged pro and against the exchange last week.

Parents and spouses need to do the right thing, and go to the ends of the earth for their children and spouses.

Leaders need to do the right thing, and secure the future of a country's citizens.

The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

I think, when all is said and done, that Israel had no choice but to make the deal it did, and to do likewise for Gilad Shalit.

But to my mind - and please forgive me, as I am not and Israeli, and do not have the native sense of one - the moment of failure was in accepting a cease-fire that did not meet the objective of our action. How could we accept a cease fire that did not have as one of its absolute conditions, the return of our soldiers?

Unknown said...

" [ Tell the world now what your preference is ] "

" [If your loved one is dead, okay, so you are giving up on a corpse and some closure. You will suffer but they will not. ] "

if people really want to protect the lives of kidnapped soldiers,

the kidnappers have to know that they must keep the soldiers alive

the Israeli stance should be,
that there will be know exchange o live terrorists for dead Israelis

they can have dead terrorists for dead Israelis

i support exchange of live terrorists only for live and 'well treated' Israelis

(otherwise they can have tortured terrorists for tortured Israelis)

as much as i would want a proper burial for a captured loved one,
i cannot see endangering the lives and well-being of possible future kidnap victims

let G-D provide for those who He has allowed to die in enemy hands ...

here is a true story of a heart-wrenching decision by a parent:

(in case it the url gets scrambled during posting, here it is in two parts)

Unknown said...

" [ Tell the world now what your preference is ] "

" [If your loved one is dead, okay, so you are giving up on a corpse and some closure. You will suffer but they will not. ] "

if people really want to protect the lives of kidnapped soldiers,

the kidnappers have to know that they must keep the soldiers alive

the Israeli stance should be,
that there will be no exchange of live terrorists for dead Israelis

they can have dead terrorists for dead Israelis

i support exchange of live terrorists only for live and 'well treated' Israelis

(otherwise they can have tortured terrorists for tortured Israelis)

as much as i would want a proper burial for a captured loved one,
i cannot see endangering the lives and well-being of possible future kidnap victims

let G-D provide for those who He has allowed to die in enemy hands ...

here is a true story of a heart-wrenching decision by a parent:

(in case it the url gets scrambled during posting, here it is in two parts)

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the new Batman movie yet?

Now, you ask what does that have to do with the topic at hand. It has EVERYTHING to do with with the topic at hand.

I will not give away the whole plot but simply to say that the Joker was killing a bunch of people and said this would continue until the Batman reveals who he is.

When Bruce Wayne asks Alfred what to do, Alfred said that he shouldn't reveal himself to the world. "They will Hate you for It" but that is what you must do (paraphrasing here).

See the new Batman movie and I believe it would give you an understanding of why the trade shouldn't have happened.

Anonymous said...

"Anon--that is interesting--the US does not negotiate for POW's? How has it gotten them back? (I was completely unaware of this--am genuinely curious)."

The US doesn't negotiate with terrorists though that is a policy that has been violated a couple of times.

But at the very least it is a principle saying that when we do negotiate with them we don't give in to them.

As for Vietnam while I am not sure I believe that was before our non-negotiation policy was putin.

Anonymous said...

As a Parent I don't know what I might do. I might give in and play up my situation to the Press.

BUT that isn't the question. The question is what MUST the GOVERNMENT do. And in this case it MUST not give in.

They will hate you for it, but no one said that it was going to be an easy job to be a leader.

Anonymous said...

"Hezbollah is heinous. We are not as mean and nasty and vile and unspeakably evil as Hezbollah...but do we want to be? Is that really our goal? "

In some ways it must be. You must match their evil.

But doing evil isn't the same as being evil as Bonhoeffer reminds us.

Kevin Costner's the Untouchables is a good movie that kind of dealt with this.

Anonymous said...

here is a true story of a heart-wrenching decision by a parent:

(in case it the url gets scrambled during posting, here it is in two parts)


My duty as a Parent would force me to find another child.

But more importantly my duty as a parent requires me not to place my child into such a situation in the first place.

And that is why Israel needs to be tough and not make such deals. In fact when such a deal was mentioned by the bad guys you should have immediately have killed the prisoner and wrap his body in pig skins.

And then attack where you think the terrorists are. The Israeli government must know the general area they are in. The general area is good enough. Surely they have enough bombs to destroy say a 10 mile radius or whatever.

Never Again!

Anonymous said...

I believe that the deal shouldn't have been made, but the question that Israelis should be asking now is what you should do next!

Did you know that two thousand years ago a Roman citizen could walk across the face of the known world free of the fear of molestation. He could walk across the earth unharmed, cloaked only in the words Civis Romanis I am a Roman citizen. So great was the retribution of Rome, universally understood as certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens.

Where was Ehud Goldwasser's protection, or Eldad Regev's? Where is the retribution for the families and where is the warning to the rest of the world that Israelis shall walk this earth unharmed, lest the clenched fist of the most mighty military force in the history of the Middle East comes crashing down on your house!? In other words, Gila, what the hell is the Israeli government doing here?