Micky and I both wrote over the past couple of weeks about saving a single life. Gilad Shalit is but one man traded for over 1,000. We talked about the potential consequences of releasing so many terrorists, many of whom “have blood on their hands,” truly nasty people. That this effort has brought joy and ended the suffering of Gilad Shalit and his family too has been discussed. Yet no one has really talked about what I would like to bring up here and now.
Israel is a nation in which all of its non-Yeshiva going young people are commanded to serve in its armed forces. Every Israeli family whose children enter the IDF can identify with the Shalits. Every single one. I’ll go one step further. Every IDF family could be the Shalits. Every soldier could be Gilad. Each one of those soldiers and their families put themselves in the place of the Shalits over the past five years. They thought without end about what they would do, what they would want Israel to do.
Some, no doubt, would say that they would not have had Israel make a deal with murderers of children, that they would rather suffer in captivity or see their loved one remain a captive rather than see the release of murderers who may murder again or encourage others to do so. Some argue that this release will encourage the kidnapping of others. Friends, Hamas and other organizations have been actively trying to kidnap IDF soldiers for years. There were many attempts before and have been many attempts since Gilad’s capture. There will be more attempts in the future.
The question in the minds of the soldiers risking their lives to defend Israel and in the minds of their family members was would Israel do something about it? The answer to that question is yes.
Israel will release a thousand enemies to rescue one Israeli citizen doing his duty for the nation. If I were an Israeli soldier that would make me feel good. And if there is concern about those who were released, I would say that would make me understand how much better I need to do my job, how much harder I need to work to protect the people of Israel for whom I serve.
The calculus is set. One Israeli soldier is worth the lives of 1,000 others. If I am an Israeli soldier, I like those odds.