Releasing murderers to go home to their families creates the possibility that more lives will be lost, but that possibility exists for Israel every day anyway

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By: Rose Bern

Gilad Shalit sits inside a desolate prison cell and thinks about his situation.  He’s a soldier who has been held hostage in an enemy land for the past three years because his country has not agreed to a prison swap. He knows his life is as important any other person’s and is extremely distraught because he feels his country is betraying him after he was so loyal. And unfortunately, because his country refuses to release a massive umber of prisoners in exchange for him, one day his day of execution arrives. 

A controversy has arisen concerning Israel’s exchanges of terrorists for one or two soldiers and sometimes even a corpse, thereby freeing terrorists who may have murdered many Israeli civilians, but also freeing Israeli soldiers who have been held hostage. Are just one or two lives worth freeing numerous terrorists and putting them on the streets again?  Basically, Israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Israel is right to be negotiating and swapping prisoners. Every life is important; this is undeniable. According to the Talmud, “Each life is equivalent to one whole world;” (CITATION) if we refuse to negotiate and ignore the chance to save one whole world, then we have inadvertently murdered one whole world. I admire Israel’s constant clinging to the idea that each life is extremely important and that we must do all that we can to save a life.

Opponents of such an exchange note that putting murderers back on the streets again in exchange for just one or two people helps only the few Israelis who are released, whereas if terrorists are walking the streets again, more lives may be lost. Also, Hamas is taking advantage of the Israeli belief that all lives are sacred.

But once you refuse to negotiate for lives that could have been saved, you begin killing every single hostage that terrorists have been able to capture. Releasing murderers to go home to their families creates the possibility that more lives will be lost, but that possibility exists for Israel every day anyway. What is certain is that not releasing them effectively ends the life of whoever is being held captive by terrorists now. People like Gilad Shalit.

Obviously, this exchange is going to be a very “expensive.” Therefore Israel should be very careful. News outlets report that Hamas wants 1,000  terrorists released from jail in exchange for Gilad Shalit (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132750#). I personally believe that the maximum should be 500. This is 25 times what Israel paid in order to receive the video of him, when they gave up 20 women prisoners who had been held in Israeli jails. Israel should not be discouraged and try lowering the price as much as possible; 500 is still a lot of people to be releasing, enough to perhaps make Hamas reconsider its options.   But there’s no other way to release Gilad than to make a trade.

Imagine a day when Gilad Shalit comes home to a family so happy that words can’t even describe how they feel. And for the first time in three years he can once again celebrate and feel the warmth of Shabbat drift into his home. When Gilad Shalit is set free, it’s a happy day for everyone.

Israel should not hesitate or doubt its desire, principled and holy, to save a life and save a world. There is absolutely nothing more important than saving a life. Period.

Gilad Shalit sits inside a desolate prison cell and thinks about his situation.  He’s a soldier who has been held hostage in an enemy land for the past three years because his country has not agreed to a prison swap. He knows his life is as important any other person’s and is extremely distraught because he feels his country is betraying him after he was so loyal. And unfortunately, because his country refuses to release a massive umber of prisoners in exchange for him, one day his day of execution arrives. 

A controversy has arisen concerning Israel’s exchanges of terrorists for one or two soldiers and sometimes even a corpse, thereby freeing terrorists who may have murdered many Israeli civilians, but also freeing Israeli soldiers who have been held hostage. Are just one or two lives worth freeing numerous terrorists and putting them on the streets again?  Basically, Israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Israel is right to be negotiating and swapping prisoners. Every life is important; this is undeniable. According to the Talmud, “Each life is equivalent to one whole world;” (CITATION) if we refuse to negotiate and ignore the chance to save one whole world, then we have inadvertently murdered one whole world. I admire Israel’s constant clinging to the idea that each life is extremely important and that we must do all that we can to save a life.

Opponents of such an exchange note that putting murderers back on the streets again in exchange for just one or two people helps only the few Israelis who are released, whereas if terrorists are walking the streets again, more lives may be lost. Also, Hamas is taking advantage of the Israeli belief that all lives are sacred.

But once you refuse to negotiate for lives that could have been saved, you begin killing every single hostage that terrorists have been able to capture. Releasing murderers to go home to their families creates the possibility that more lives will be lost, but that possibility exists for Israel every day anyway. What is certain is that not releasing them effectively ends the life of whoever is being held captive by terrorists now. People like Gilad Shalit.

Obviously, this exchange is going to be a very “expensive.” Therefore Israel should be very careful. News outlets report that Hamas wants 1,000  terrorists released from jail in exchange for Gilad Shalit (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132750#). I personally believe that the maximum should be 500. This is 25 times what Israel paid in order to receive the video of him, when they gave up 20 women prisoners who had been held in Israeli jails. Israel should not be discouraged and try lowering the price as much as possible; 500 is still a lot of people to be releasing, enough to perhaps make Hamas reconsider its options.   But there’s no other way to release Gilad than to make a trade.

Imagine a day when Gilad Shalit comes home to a family so happy that words can’t even describe how they feel. And for the first time in three years he can once again celebrate and feel the warmth of Shabbat drift into his home. When Gilad Shalit is set free, it’s a happy day for everyone.

Israel should not hesitate or doubt its desire, principled and holy, to save a life and save a world. There is absolutely nothing more important than saving a life. Period.

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