Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart
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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Simple Logic

Spock: "The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few"
Kirk: "Or the one."                         (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

The Jewish world is all a-twitter with the news that a deal has been arranged to have kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit released in exchanged for 1027 Arab terrorists, many of whom are responsible for the murder of Jews.  For some this is a moment of euphoria.  After five years of what must have been brutal captivity, Gilad is coming home!  For others, a broader view of the situation seems to preclude celebrating.  I find myself in the latter group.
On one hand, I feel great sympathy for the Shalit family.  For five years they have been living a nightmare that I would wish only on my worst enemy.  Chazal tell us that when one loses a loved one for certain that the grief eventually passes but when one thinks a loved one is dead but really isn't the bereavement never ends.  We learn this from how Yaakov Avinu mourned for Yosef Hatzadik for 22 years.  For the Shalits, the grieving over the loss of Gilad, combined with the faint hope he might return safely to them one day must have been agonizing.
On the other hand, we have to ask if the terms of the deal are worth it.  One soldier for thousands of murderers and wanna-be murderers.  According to some reports I've seen the recidivism rate of released terrorists is about 60%.  It is almost guaranteed that hundreds of Jews will die over the next ten years as a result of this release.  And beyond that there is the suffering being caused to survivors of terrorist attacks and their families who thought their assailants were imprisoned for life and who now have to accept that those monsters will be loose to wreak havoc on them and their neighbours once more.  Yes, the pain of the Shalit family has to be considered but what about the pain of these other families?  Was it not taken into account?
In addition there is one basic problem with this deal: there is no confirmation that I am aware of that Gilad is alive save for the assurances of Hamas.  Not exactly the most reliable source, eh?  What happens if, at the prisoner exchange, the Arabs show up with Gilad in a box?  Does the deal get called off? 
I do not blame the Shalit family for one instant for protesting for the government to get Gilad back and applying the pressure they did.  I do blame the government for capitulating to them.  Bibi Netanyahu has to be concerned not just with the Shalit family but with the six million other Jews in Israel, many of whom will suffer if this exchange goes through.  Yes we all want to see the Shalit family happily and safely reunited but what about the cost to everone else?  Do their lives matter less?
To be blunt: If/when these killers murder more Jews, are the Shalits prepared to make a shiva call to each family and say "Well we're sorry about your loss.  Too bad but hey, we got Gilad back!"?
It is still my opinion that Gilad was killed by Hamas five years ago after they realized a quick prisoner exchange was not in the works.  I also don't doubt that they will not understand Israeli's reluctance to hand over 1027 murderers for his body.  The Arab world has had a long tradition of expecting Israel to fulfill its side of any deal without feeling any obligation to keep up its own end.
But I cannot put my mind at ease with the idea that one soldier, however loved by his family and friends, was made more important than six million other Jews.

9 comments:

Mark said...

Spock: "The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few"
Kirk: "Or the one."


But the needs of politicians outweigh all the above needs.

Benjamin of Tudela said...

As for dying 5 years ago..they released a video of him holding a paper about a year and a bit ago.

I've not been able to make up my mind on this issue, and hence have yet to blog on it. You make it sound so simple - and yet the counter argument that Gilad is still alive, is emotionally convincing. Ask a young man, who does Army service, I keep thinking what I would want done if it was my own life on the line. While occasionally I imagine myself rising to the moment, and not willing to accept a deal for my release, I mostly admit to myself that were it me - I would hope for a deal.

The enormity of the decision should not be understated. I think ascribing cyncism to Netanyahu - who clearly does understand both sides of this argument is nothing less than slander in this case. I do not envy the man who had to take the practical decision, and not merely theorize. Agree or not with the choice he made, we should respect him.

Garnel Ironheart said...

> Ask a young man, who does Army service, I keep thinking what I would want done if it was my own life on the line.

If you didn't want to be released no matter what there would be something wrong with you.
That's why leaders need a certain amount of insulation from the public. Too much and they become aloof and arrogant but too little and they become rank populists whose policies change with every shift in popular opinion.

What the Shalits want is what's best for them. That's normal and expected. What Israel needs is greater than what they want.

SJ said...

You can have both ways have your cake and eat it too if the IDF finishes the terrorists once and for all. In case someone is a libtard moron, finishing the terrorists once and for all does not mean killing the arabs, it means finishing people who are already COMBATANTS on the arab side, once and for all.

Friar Yid said...

In light of the fact that he now appears to be very much alive, does this change any of your opinions of a few days ago?

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

First of all, B"H that he's alive and home and that his family's agony is now at an end.
But no, my opinion hasn't changed. In the big picture whether he came home alive or in a box, 1027 murderers are going to get a chance to kill again.

Menachem Lipkin said...

Well, if you're going to quote Star Trek then you'd better be complete. At the end of "Search for Spock" after Kirk loses the enterprise and his son trying to save Spock, Spock asks Kirk why he would do that, Kirk said, "Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many". No, it's not logical but sometimes that's what has to be done.

The vast majority of Israelis understand that this was not just simple "logical" mathematics. It goes to the very soul of who we are as a nation and a people.

Menachem Lipkin said...

Oh and one more thing. To imply punitively that if Israelis get killed by released prisoners that the Schalits are somehow responsible is very heartless, mean spirited, and illogical

The Schalits did what any decent parents would and should do in such a situation. Are you implying that you would do less? The if you child were kidnapped you wouldn't move heaven and Earthy to ensure his safe return?

That is what the Schalits were expected to do. The responsibility for the "consequences" lies with those who made the decision and ultimately therefore with all of us as this is a democracy.

MIghty Garnel Ironheart said...

As I said before, I don't blame the Shalits for wanting to do anything possible to get Gilad back. If I were in their position I would do the same thing. But such a position, no matter how emotionally right, is still myopic when it comes to assessing what is best for the country at large.