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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eating my hat

Five and a half years ago I wrote on this blog that I was fairly certain that Gilad Schalit was dead. The terrorist's refusal to provide a sign of life or to let Red Cross representatives have access to him both seemed bad signs.

And after the second Lebanon war ended with a shameful spectacle where the wives of other kidnapped soldiers, who had also been held without a sign of life, ended up watching their husband's coffins being handed over in exchange for live terrorists, I was even more sure that Gilad was dead.

In a terrible way, it was easier to advocate for harsh measures against terror leaders and a hard line on any potential prisoner exchange based on the assumption that Gilad was dead.

But once the terrorists finally showed a sign of life, the father in me (who will be sending the first of my children to the army next year) couldn't be objective anymore. All I could say to myself was that we could always track down and kill released terrorists... but that if we could possible return Gilad to his family, we had to do anything necessary.

Seeing today what 'anything necessary' means pains me beyond words. But I still think we did the right thing. A million terrorists behind bars won't bring back a single terror victim or prevent further terror deaths. Only a death penalty can do that.

I'm sitting on a beach with my family right now following the news on my iPad. I'm watching how the Palestinians are rioting and demanding "a new Gilad Schalit" in order to free the rest of the terrorists held by Israel.

That's fine with me. The timing of the release was all about trying to make the Palestinians appear statesmanlike as they try to convince the world to grant them a state. But they still have some hard questions to answer about their role in the war crime of kidnapping a soldier and holding him without letting the IRC have access to him. I'm sure the world will try to ignore that bothersome detail, as they will now ignore the Palestinian calls for more kidnapping and armed resistance.

It's up to me and you to remind them at every turn who it is behind this obscene request to join the family of nations.

And in the mean time, as I exchange tearful congratulations with strangers here on the beach over the return of a hostage we all know simply as 'Gilad', as if he were our own family (which in a way he is), I don't mind eating my hat over making the wrong call five and a half years ago.

I think we made the right call this time.

Posted by David Bogner on October 18, 2011 | Permalink

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I wish my joy could be just that, pure joy, not tinged by fear. I'm still euphoric, and still very much convinced this will worsen everything, the Palestinians couldn't be clearer about that. The international community has never much cared about reality or bothered to listen, it'd be shocking if it started now. As for the death penalty bringing back terror victims or having a dissuasive effect, I fail to see how, it hasn't so far, anywhere. I'd have shed no tears had those buses met an untimely end somehow but the State had better not kill in my name.

Posted by: Lioness | Oct 18, 2011 1:02:33 PM

I can't stop crying. I watched the TV coverage all morning and am looking at pictures now. I also did not think he was alive. Considering all he went through, he looks OK. It is unthinkable how the rest of the world can see this deal and think it's fair. Olam Hafuch.
Chag Sameach!

Posted by: SaraK | Oct 18, 2011 4:14:34 PM

I`ll be interested in seeing what the commission says about policy going forward. I hope it`s something that can prove effective in making sure this will never happen again. What troubles me about those released is that it included those who planned and then sent others out to kill and be killed. How many spent their prison years hatching new schemes to kill innocents.

Posted by: ED | Oct 18, 2011 4:45:05 PM

The simple solution of instituting the death penalty for terrorists with blood on their hands, would prevent their release/exchange. Justice would be done. Just simple Torah wisdom I guess. I'm glad Gilead is home.

Posted by: David | Oct 18, 2011 5:57:19 PM

How can we not be excited about Gilad coming home. People can say what they will about the price but today is a day to celebrate life and not what could happen because of this.

Posted by: Jack@TheJackB | Oct 18, 2011 7:21:18 PM

I am sure that EVERYONE in Israel, even those who think that the price is too high are glad for the Shalit family. I agree that we did, evrything considered, the right thing. But I also agree that we have to stop this madness of no death penalty for terrorists with blood on their hands.
Today I was glued to the radio, and I was proud to be part of a country, a nation, that CARES. But the price was high, and even Noam Shalit mentioned it.....

Posted by: rickismom | Oct 18, 2011 11:10:23 PM

Indeed a joyous day, despite price paid.
How would you like that hat: boiled, fried or tartar?

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Oct 18, 2011 11:55:40 PM

Excellent post, as always, my friend. You are one of the few who really gets "fair and balanced." As I've said more than once, when I get too militant, I like to read Trep to give me perspective.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Oct 19, 2011 12:47:46 PM

rutimizrachi ... One of the great things about leaving ones words hanging out there in the cyber-breeze for days, months and even years, is that you sometimes have to go back and taste them after they're good and ripe.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Oct 19, 2011 2:40:19 PM

May those good, ripe words always taste this sweet.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Oct 20, 2011 6:24:26 PM

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