Monday, October 17, 2011

A Double-Edged Sword

While all the news of the world are pointed at the Shalit family, I'd like to take a step back and look at Benjamin Netanyahu, who ultimately bears the responsibility for the decision of the prisoner release.

Think of all that must be going through his head, and has been for years.

On one hand, there's a boy who hasn't begun to live his life yet because he was obliged, as every young Israeli man, to first serve his country as a soldier.

This man did nothing wrong in regards to this country, how can this same country neglect him? Bibi knows what it means to be a soldier, and knows also what it means to give yourself fully, knowing that no matter what happens your country will go back for you.
How can he ever ask a soldier to put his life on the line for his country if they feel that the country will abandon them?
Bibi's Jewish fundamentals teach him that there is no greater mitzvah than that of Pidyon Shvuyim, the redemption of prisoner, as captivity is even worse than starvation or death.

On the other hand, Bibi answers to all of the state of Israel. He always knew that any deal would include terrorists, many of them with blood on their hands.
After all the hard work that went into capturing them, how can they be let go?
After mourning side by side with the terror victims' families, how can he release the very murderers who were responsible?
How can he ensure Israelis feel safe and in fact are safe with a thousand more savages on the loose?
The same Jewish fundamentals teach him that prisoners shouldn't be ransomed for more than their value.

But who has the right to decide the value of the life of Gilad Shalit?

With such a burden on Bibi's shoulders, I wonder how this man sleeps at night.
Torn between the obligation of a state to its soldiers of never leaving them behind enemy lines, and the responsibility of keeping the citizens of Israel safe.

Most of the article I've read speak of him "not wanting to go down in history as the man who didn't bring Gilad Shalit home." I don't think that's fair. Now he can go down in history as "the man who released over a thousand blood-thirsty barbarians". This was never going to be a win-win situation once it unraveled, we've always known that.

That seems to be the destiny of the nation of Israel. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. So Netanyahu chose for the scenario with the calculated risk where, if all goes well tomorrow, Gilad Shalit comes back home.

I know it's unbearable for many of the victims' families, that I am in no position to understand them, and I genuinely hope I never have the need to.

Yet, I honestly believe that if a family had one child who was killed by terrorists and the other abducted, they would agree to freeing the killers of the first child if it meant that they could bring the second back home.
Israel is all one family. It hurts us beyond any description that we have to release these murderers who killed our children, but we grudgingly agree to pay this price because Gilad is also our child, and he can still be saved.

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