Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were recently returned to Israel as part of a prisoner exchange. The two soldiers, may God avenge their blood, were kidnapped from the Israeli side of the border by Hezbollah terrorists in 2006 just before the Lebanon Debacle began. They were finally sent home but unfortunately they travelled in their coffins. Their captors had decided it wasn't worth keeping them alive and had ended their lives in brutal fashion.
There has been much comment on the validity and appropriateness of the exchange since it happened. The price Israel paid for their bodies was high: Samir Kuntar, an unrepetant terrorist with much Jewish blood on his hands along with other unreformed Jew murderers. In contrast to the Hezbollah, Israel returned these men alive and unharmed. From the few pictures I've seen, Kuntar was far from distressed by his stay in Israel. It seems he was quite well fed and cared for while in custory.
Was it worth it? My person answer is: No. Now, before I explain why I will acknowledge the horrible pain the Reged and Goldwasser families have gone through over the past two years. I cannot claim to understand how they have suffered and I don't dismiss their desire to see their sons buried at home with some dignity.
But I am also not the leader of a state whose responsibility is to pursue policies that are best for that entire state even if some of its citizens are not in agreement with them. And in this regard, like in so many others, I believe that Ehud Olmert and his henchmen failed miserably.
Consider what Israel was created for: a refuge for the Jews of the world where they could finally walk proudly, build their own society and show the world that for the first time in 1900 years Jewish blood was no longer cheap.
What this deal has done is put a lie to that belief. Jewish blood, it seems, is quite cheap. If one lives in Sderot or Ashkelon, one cannot walk in the streets without worrying that a rocket from 'Aza will suddenly rain down on the street. And if they do and a citizen is killed, his government will not exact retribution for it. Rather, we will be reminded that if Israel is being attacked, it is because it hasn't weakened itself enough yet!
The lesson from the prisoner exchange is also clear. Kidnaps a Jewish soldier and even if you kill him, the Israelis will still give you whatever you want for his body. No matter how outrageous the price, Israel will pay it because of some "Jewish value" of morality and decency. This same state which pays mere lip service, or less, to mainstream Jewish values like Shabbos or family purity suddenly became frum when it came to this deal?
And this will bode very poorly for Gilad Shalit, assuming he's still alive. If Hamas thought keeping him breathing was of value for any future prisoner exchange, Olmert and co.'s shameful dealing with Hezbollah has proven otherwise. And that is the final crime of this deal: its condemned the soldier Israel is supposedly so cared about to death.