I havent blogged this last week. Not because I dont have plenty of witty anecdotes about Succot fun, or trips to Manchester, or my funny little one year old.
Mainly because the entire Jewish world has been taken hold of by the Gilad debate, and I dont really know how to feel. That isnt to say I dont know how I do feel, because I have a fairly strong opinion. But maybe I have no right to voice it, or perhaps I will be verbally abused for my standpoint. But as it’s on my mind quite heavily, the relief of which was the very purpose for this blog, here we go.
I am against the deal. I’ve said it. I’ve even written it down now, no going back.
Of course we want Gilad home with his family. Of course we have been praying for his safe return for 6 years, and in some ways, just the fact that he is still alive is truly miraculous. But I cant see any good coming out of this swap.
1000 soldiers for 1 jewish life. A problem in itself, even without the nature of these men. By agreeing to this, surely we are agreeing to that comparison of worth. We are telling the Palestinians that we believe that this is a fair swap. And while we may be looking at this from a loftier perspective, ie: that one jewish life is more important than many non jewish, I can guarantee you that they have no such understanding. Surely all they can see is that the kidnapping of one innocent was enough to retrieve a thousand of their own? How can this possibly bode well for the future?
Now think about the nature of the men being released. They are terrorists. Simple as. I have heard people arguing lately that they are not ‘serious’ terrorists. I truly think this is laughable. You’re right, most of the ‘serious’ terrorists are dead. That tends to be what happens to suicide bombers. They are being judged by a far greater power than us. We are talking about the men that transported them, the men who brought the weaponry and explosives into our country. The men who plotted and planned and laughed and celebrated over Jewish blood being split. Above all, the men whom our soldiers risked their lives to capture and keep locked away. How can we ever justify taking them out of prison and saying to our soldiers that all their work and service was for nothing?
I havent had this conversation many times. Those who know me know I am not a great one for voicing my political opinions in public. But the few times I have read or been involved in a debate on this matter, I am always met with the same question. What if he were your son? Wouldnt you do anything you could to bring him home?
This is not, and should not be, an emotional decision. The government should not be acting as a parent would. Their job is to act for the greater good of the country and the people in it. And the question posed is too horrific to consider, and my heart truly goes out to Gilad’s family, who will no doubt-never be the same again. However. I will say that I would not want my son growing up with the guilt of any Jewish blood on his hands, let alone the kind of horror that these men can and have unleashed on us in the past. I wouldnt want him to feel that he had divided the country into ‘for’ and ‘against’, and I certainly wouldnt want him turned into the media spectacle that Gilad Shalit has become this week.
The man coming home to his family, is almost certainly not the man who left them all those years ago. While it is truly a bracha that he has managed to survive his years in captivity, we cannot even imagine what he has been through, and his ordeal in terms of mental scarring and moving on with his life I’m sure is far from over. Is this the profile of a man who wants such a decision resting on his life? Would any of us want to be faced with this kind of debate on our shoulders, and if we were, I think deep down, don’t we all know the choice we would make?
As the Torah has a mixed opinion on this matter, with great gedolim on either side, we are stuck as a people in the middle. One side argues that we are told not to give into ransom at any cost, while the other says anything we can do to save a jewish life is worth the cost. So we are left without a clear answer.
To me however, with no learned status and not even a large amount of political knowledge on the matter, the answer is clear. If faced with the same dilemma, I have little doubt the Palestinians would simply start killing their Jewish prisoners until their son was home. And it wouldnt take too long either.
We have made the decision to compromise, a far greater compromise than seems fair or necessary. I can only pray that Hashem proves me wrong, and a corner has not been turned from which there is no going back.
I’d love to hear your opinions if you want to give them, my mind is most definitely open. Hoping for a Chag Sameach for us all!