From the moment that Gilad Shalit was kidnapped I have felt enormous compassion for him and for his family. Able to put myself in another’s place in my imagination, his parents’ place was one I chose not to visit because the pain would be so overwhelming. He is an innocent young man unlucky enough to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. His parents have been living a nightmare. Who among us does not want to see him home safe and sound?
But the price…
Those of us who have been living in Israel remember those horrific days of the second intifada when on at least a weekly, sometimes daily basis, innocent people going about their business were murdered on the streets, in buses and restaurants and hotels and catering halls. I was afraid to turn on the radio, fearing another attack. I would come out of my class that I taught on Sunday mornings, and several weeks in a row, the car radio would tell me how many innocents had been murdered that morning. Literally every person in Israel knew at least one terror victim- many of us know several families who lost family members.
And now, Israel has acceded to the Hamas requests to release murderers who were responsible for these http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148780#.TpqdBZsUqdA. And they are unrepentant. They are not ashamed to say they would do it again. They will be received as heroes. They will inspire and school others.
So we will have convicted terrorists back out where they can act and have emboldened their protege’s who won’t mind spending a few years in an Israeli prison if it means they are able to kill Jews. After all, all that has to happen is that terrorists kidnap one soldier and they’ll be out again eventually.
What would we say to the Shalit family if we chose not to make this deal? A difficult question.
But here’s a more difficult one: what will we say to all of the families who G-d forbid, will lose their loved ones as a result of this decision?
G-d help us!