Not at Any Cost

Return the Abductees, but not at Any Cost

If the families of the abductees had known that the Shalit deal would lead twelve years later to the Seventh of October, they would certainly have opposed it completely, and rightly so. The state is responsible for returning all the abductees, down to the last one, but not at any cost.

(Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90)

The Shulchan Aruch states that the mitzvah of freeing captives precedes the mitzvah of charity and one must not delay even one unnecessary moment, but rather hurry up and release the captives as soon as possible.

To this must be added the state's responsibility to protect its citizens, a responsibility that unfortunately the State of Israel failed in on the seventh of October. The state has a responsibility to correct the injustice, return all the abductees and help them return to a normal life as much as possible.

Add to that the Israeli sentiment, the fact that everyone here knows everyone, as well as the feeling of national depression that we all feel these days, when it is clear that only returning live abductees to their families can bring color back to our faces and raise our national stature.

But let's talk for a moment about the price

In the Shalit deal, the requirement was to bring him home "at any cost." Hamas heard, internalized and the Israeli government released 1,027 terrorists in exchange for Gilad's release.

Some of the terrorists who were released in the Shalit deal returned to terrorism after their release and we know that from then until the seventh of October, ten Israelis were murdered by them, and that is if we only count those who pulled the trigger. Many more indirectly supported terrorism. On the seventh of October we lost the ability to count the victims of those released from the Shalit deal. We will probably never know how many of those murdered lost their lives by terrorists we released with our own hands. How many heads were cut off, how many men and women were raped by them.

Add to that Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who, even if he himself did not pull the trigger on the seventh of October, clearly has overall responsibility for the most serious war crime in the history of the State of Israel. Sinwar was also released in the Shalit deal, although he refused to sign a statement that he would not engage in terrorism again. Not that this statement has any value, and yet, when a person declares himself that he intends to continue engaging in terrorism, if we release him, we are in fact allowing all the citizens of Israel to be killed, and the question is only who will fall to fate.

The Shalit deal strengthened Hamas

It is important to remember that neither Gilad nor his family is responsible for the deal that brought him back. But it is natural that every family will do everything in their power to bring their son back home alive. The person responsible for the Shalit deal is Netanyahu, who served as prime minister at the time. He was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of Gilad as well as all the other citizens of Israel.

It must be remembered that there is no one to voice the voices of the future kidnapped and murdered, and no loving family will spread a heartbreaking photo, but their blood is no less red than the blood of the abductees dying in the Hamas tunnels. They are all dear to our hearts. It is the state's responsibility to protect everyone's lives. Netanyahu led the Shalit deal with broad public support. Only three ministers in his government opposed the deal: Uzi Landau, Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon. It turns out that all three of them were good at seeing from afar, and avoided a populist decision with an unbearably heavy price.

It is difficult to exaggerate the strengthening that Hamas achieved following the Shalit deal: a large number of terrorists returned to the organization's ranks, including leaders, the morale boost, as well as public sympathy in Gaza. It is possible that Qatar decided to financially support Hamas because it allegedly proved its capabilities and influence.

We must demand the release of complete families

If the families of the abductees had known that the Shalit deal would lead twelve years later to the Seventh of October, they would certainly have opposed it completely, and rightly so. The state is responsible for returning all the abductees, down to the last one, but not at any cost.

The deal that is going to be carried out starting tomorrow (Thursday) seems more balanced than Shalit's deal. The released prisoners are fewer and less dangerous. The pressure of our soldiers on the battlefield is bearing fruit and it seems that Hamas is longing for a lull that will allow it to reorganize. It is of course a cause for concern if it was not possible to insist on a deal for all the abductees, taking advantage of the fact that Sinwar has his back against the wall.

Furthermore, why is it clear to us that it is forbidden to separate children from their mothers, but it is permissible to separate them from their fathers? We must demand the full release of families. The blood of all the abductees is equal - children and elderly, men and women, female and male soldiers. Priority should be given to the sick and wounded whose stay in captivity endangers their lives more than others, but apart from that, everyone's life is equal. As great as the joy that some of the abductees will be able to return home in the coming days, so great is the pain for those who will remain in Gaza.

We can only hope that all of the abductees will be able to return home soon, and that the military echelon's assessment that the truce will not prevent the army from neutralizing Hamas from all its military and governmental capabilities will be fully realized.


Pasit Siach is a former principal of a democratic, Jewish-pluralist high school, currently accompanies school principals, teaches Jewish philosophy and practices Li.c.b.t. treatment. A graduate of the Ulpana in Kfar Pines and the Lindenbaum seminary.


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