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The Shalit Redemption and the Changing Social Contract

October 24, 2011 – 5:45 pm24 Comments

Gilad Shalit seemingly being coerced into the now infamous Egyptian TV interview

By Geoff Bloch
Now that the euphoria and relief at the redemption of Gilad Shalit has begun to subside, it is time to appraise the deal with our heads rather than with our hearts.

Some wonderful and positive things have emerged from the prisoner swap. A precious soldier’s life has been spared. The anxiety and suffering of his family, friends and indeed the wider Jewish community have at last been relieved. Israel’s affirmation of the sanctity of human life stands as a shining beacon in a dark ocean of tyranny and brutality. Israel has reaffirmed its pledge to every Israeli family that every effort will be made to rescue or redeem captured soldiers. And at long last, Israelis have been united in joy and celebration.

But just as surely, most Jews understand the obvious dangers inherent in a deal which required the release of over one thousand convicted Palestinian terrorists and criminals, including despicable serial murderers, for one Israeli soldier. First and foremost, the deal has not yet been fully paid for by Israel, because more innocent Jewish lives will be lost when the recidivists or those inspired, trained or encouraged by them, return to murder and maim or kidnap other Israeli soldiers. By capitulating to terrorists, the future cost of meeting their unreasonable demands has been driven to new heights. In Israel’s zeal to save the life of Gilad Shalit, she has tragically condemned others to die. And to all this must be added the unimaginable grief and misery inflicted on terror victims’ families as they see the murderers of their loved ones cheered home and honoured as heroes.

But weighing the positives against the ghastly negatives is not my focus despite the annoying tendency of politicians and media analysts, riding a wave of popular approbation, to characterise the deal as “the right thing to do” when only time can answer that question.

Nor is my focus the halacha of pidyon shvuyim (redeeming captives) which, if strictly applied, would almost certainly have ruled this particular transaction impermissible. That is because the halacha does not require everything possible to be done to redeem a captive but requires the needs of the wider community to be carefully considered and brought into account.

What has been gnawing away at me is an instinctive doubt that a deal on such unfavourable terms would even have been entertained in years gone by, notwithstanding previous prisoner exchanges which have taken place.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, over 400 Israeli soldiers have been declared missing in action and although almost all must have died in battle, several have been listed as “captured but presumed to be alive”. Indeed, we prayed for years in our synagogues for their release, referring to them by name. Why is it that none of their families set up a protest tent outside the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence and orchestrated a public campaign for their release? Why is it that virtually every Israeli family identified with Noam and Aviva Shalit, yet most would never act as they have? Are Gilad Shalit’s parents to be admired for their tenacity or was their constant pressure on the Israeli government, virtually blaming the Israeli government for their son’s incarceration, objectively unacceptable even if, subjectively, they themselves are beyond criticism? Is it ethical that a government should have made so crucial and dangerous a decision – a decision far more compassionate than it was just – placing the plight of parents so hopelessly conflicted above the security of all other citizens?

Israelis have long understood that their sons and daughters may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for Israel’s survival. The primacy of the State above the individual is a principle perhaps best expressed by President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” It is, or at least should be, the cornerstone of the social contract between the citizen and the State.

After his son’s release, Noam’s Shalit proclaimed triumphantly “We won our son back!” His statement is undoubtedly true. The Shalit family indeed succeeded in importuning the government to comply with their private demands despite the unarguable danger to Israeli society. And the pressure will not stop there. By capitulating to terrorists’ demands, not only has the cost of redemption skyrocketed to new heights, it sets a precedent for the simple reason that once the government has answered the Shalits’ distress, how could anything less be done for the next family which, God forbid, finds itself in a similar position? The Shalit case therefore represents a dangerous shift in the social contract and a reversal of the primacy of the State over the individual. This cannot be a good thing.

Although there are, no doubt, many factors which have caused Israel to act as it has, there may be a worrying correlation between this paradigm shift in Israel’s relationship with its citizens and the progressive preoccupation of younger generations in contemporary society with a sense of self and personal entitlement, to the detriment of the greater whole. It is timely that Israel should consider how this worrying trend might be addressed.

 

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24 Comments »

  • frosh says:

    I ultimately was in favour of the deal that brought Gilad Shalit home, for the primary (and perhaps not so prudent) reason being that if were one of my loved ones, then …

    However, I have been wondering if we as emotional Jewish beings have driven up the price for Shalit, akin to a buyer in a bazaar who makes the seller aware of how desperate they are to buy a certain product before negotiating on the price.

    And while I don’t condemn those who sincerely (albeit perhaps foolishly) poured out their emotion which could have only served to raise the price, I do condemn those who at best ought to have known better, and at worst, cynically exploited the situation for their own gain. One need look no further than a local Jewish publication that ran a petition to free Shalit. How exactly was that meant to help the situation?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    I echo the sentiment in Frosh’s first paragraph.

    Arguably every Jewish organisation which campaigned to “free Shalit” was party to the pressure which bought about this result because every campaign was effectively a campaign against the government of Israel. Hamas was never going to respond to campaigns by the Diaspora. Political leaders and activists from across the political spectrum (including people not considered to be friends of Israel such as Carter and Goldstone) had advocated on behalf of Shalit to no avail.

    When our children encountered encouragement to ‘call’ for Shalit’s release I explained to them I had a problem with that because it made people feel like they were doing something constructive when all it was doing was upping the price and pressurising the Israeli government.

    How was it ever appropriate for Jews in the Diaspora to advocate for OR against this swap in a strident way, as was the case in the many campaigns over the years and in respect of the petitions and campaigns against the release of certain prisoners, in the week before Shalit’s release?

    Supporting broad political outcomes in Israel is one thing (and to my mind all the more acceptable given for example Netanyahu’s recent assertion at the UN that he represents the Jewish people); direct advocacy on a specific issue which has a clear and direct security impact is quite another.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Let me quote an Israeli friend:

    “Until you have sent your sons to war, and faced the stress of worrying that it is your son they are referring to in the newscasts when they say “a soldier was critically wounded, the family hasn’t yet been notified”, I think YOU should all step back, take a breath and show some humility. This is not an easy decision, not for the PM, not for the Cabinet, nor for the population.”

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Frosh – have you seen the following video? makes your point exactly.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139873

  • frosh says:

    Hi Shirah,

    Wow, that was EXACTLY the analogy I had imagined!

  • Buff says:

    The largest petition run by the Australian Jewish community (www.meetgilad.com) was primarily developed to provide an avenue for world Jewry to write letters to a range of bodies including the UN, Gilad’s family, the ICC, the PA, the EU and other NGOs. As far as I remember, it was never about lobbying the Israeli Government to agree to a prisoner swap.

    Frosh, I feel like your slightly-cynical view of the way in which local organisations ‘cynically exploited the situation’ is unfair. I’m not sure if attacking the motives of local Jewish bodies is the best way to look back at the efforts of organisations that work tirelessly for the causes they are passionate about.

    Cheers

  • Simmy Abraham says:

    The question of individual rights versus group rights in Israeli society is not a new one – there are times when decisions are made that favour the individual and other times when group rights dominate. So to read into the Shalit deal a judgement on societal change in Israel is in my view incorrect.

    Gilad Shalit could have been the son of the majority of Israelis who report for compulsory military service. These soldiers are aware of a social contract that commits to protect them and not abandon them. Thankfully there has been no shift in this commitment and I hasten to add that the price paid this time is not significantly higher than previous cases.

    I cannot agree that the Netanyahu govt bowed to public pressure in making a “decision far more compassionate than it was just“. Rather I see the govt’s actions as being consistent with the long held social contract by which no soldier is abandoned.

    For a time this govt and it’s predecessors lost their way hence it took five years and four months to reach this decision.

  • geoff bloch says:

    But Simmy, taking your argument to its logical conclusion, no price is too high to pay for the redemption of a soldier. Surely this is insupportable. Where, if at all, would you draw the line?
    Regards,
    Geoff

  • gedalia says:

    Thank you for a very well considered article.

    Strangely, I was against this deal until the transaction was made. Having seen the deal successfully concluded, and the elated response from Jews around the world I have changed my mind with the benefit of hindsight and now support what has occurred. The deal was not fair, and the deal remains a huge security risk to Israel. Then again, there is no shortage of wannabee terrorists with or without these lowlife criminals being imprisoned by Israel.

    Leaving the politics of the deal aside, you have argued that the outcome is a “reversal of the primacy of the State over the individual”. As a principle, I think this is actually a positive virtue. What other State in the world would place the value of the life of one individual over and above matters of national security for the sake of preserving a persons life and liberty? That the Jewish nation will go so far in order to save one of its people is a stunningly wonderful value statement about the sancitity of life, and for that we should be very proud. This was a no win situation turned into a moral victory.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Buff – I’m not saying people consciously directed their efforts at Israel’s government but with the exception of writing to the Shalit family (which is admirable) the letter campaigns were always going to be ineffective.

    And lots of people were saying so for a long time. The video Shira posted is a couple of years old and people circulated it to make exactly that point.

    The UN is powerless on this as it is on most really nasty issues, including that many Palestinian minors are held as Israeli political prisoners, many having had only military trials. This was always going to be a matter that only Israel’s government could address.

    Campaigning on an issue like this may feel good but it doesn’t necessarily do good.

  • frosh says:

    Gedalia,
    I think you have superbly articulated the rationale for supporting the deal.

    Buff,
    I’d echo Mandi’s comments: “Campaigning on an issue like this may feel good but it doesn’t necessarily do good.”
    If you haven’t already seen it, I’d also urge you to watch the video that Shira posted.

    As for my comments about exploitation, I tried to distinguish between those who were just naïve, and those who wilfully exploited. I’d point to the example of the AJN petition. The AJN is run by someone very financially savvy. It’s inconceivable that they are naïve to the ‘politics of the shuk’. It is also inconceivable to me that they would actually think that their petition/campaign could help free Gilad.

    Would you not entertain the possibility that the AJN ran this campaign to increase their own brand loyalty in the community?

  • Red says:

    There is no evidence that campaigning on this issue has done harm. The cartoon that Shira posted (which is 1 year old as it mentions that Gilad has been held captive for 4 years), was created when there were already negotiations over a deal that included 1000 Palestinian terrorists.
    Had everyone shut up as suggested by the cartoon, then perhaps the Palestinians would have thought, this Israeli soldier is worthless to us, no one cares, we may as well let him die. Yes the price would have been less for a dead body.
    Had everyone shut up as suggested by the cartoon, then definitely all the world leaders and other “even-handed” activists, who usually only have criticism of Israel, would not have remembered to temper their demands of Israel, with the proviso that Gilad should be freed.
    As the Palestinians use publicity (BDS, flotillas) to highlight their issues, why is it that they would be completely insensitive to bad publicity as in the Gilad Shalit campaigns?
    The social contract has not changed; the deal struck for Gilad is the deal that all Israelis expect will be done for their return. Gilad Shalit is alive and by returning him there is a definite positive gain, a fulfilment of the social contract struck between the Israeli soldiers (who do offer their lives for the state) and the Israeli government who will do their utmost to keep them alive and healthy.
    No one knows that the returned prisoners will strike again. It is a risk that they may try, but with the wall and the checkpoints, it will be harder.
    Is there any shortage of terrorists who will try again even without these ones that have been captured and now released?
    I prefer to be “naive” and hope that the release of these prisoners will lead to positive change.
    And for all those suggesting:
    – a military option; have you forgotten? It could be argued that Israel’s Gaza campaign was in part motivated by Shalit’s capture and did severely punish Hamas (so please don’t argue that Israel has become too “soft”) – but unfortunately it was not able to free Gilad.
    – and what about an Entebbe type raid? Well if the Israelis have not managed it in 5 years, then obviously the people that suggested it did not offer their expertise on how it could be done successfully, and therefore should take some responsibility that it was not accomplished (-:).

  • geoff bloch says:

    Hi Frosh and Gedalia,

    Frosh, you have warmly supported Gedalia’s position. I could not disagree more strongly with both of you and I will endeavour to explain why.

    To recap, Gedalia believes that it is a “positive virtue” and a “stunningly wonderful value statement” for Israel “to place the value of the life of one individual over and above matters of national security.”

    While that sentiment is heartwarming and truly a delight to read, just stand back for one moment and look, dispassionately, at the absurdity of what you are supporting.

    Any government that gives primacy to the life of one individual over the security of its citizens has failed in its most important obligation of all, namely to safeguard its civilian population.

    You have gone to the very nub of my article. But by your altruistic and seductive rhetoric, you have unwittingly made my case far better than I did!

    My whole point is that on sensitive matters such as the one we have been discussing, reason too often takes a back seat to emotion, especially in the minds of those who are sensitive and have a social conscience (as you have both proved). That is because such people have a strong natural inclination to be compassionate toward those in distress.

    Let me develop the argument even further. It is not the role of governments to be compassionate. It is their role to be just. Compassion and justice are often conflated – I see it every day in our court system where our best and brightest (our judges) regularly mistake the one for the other and make dishonest findings of fact so as to fit a case crying out for compassion within accepted, strict, legal principles.

    The primary difference between compassion and justice is that compassion is relative (and discretionary) whereas justice is not. If you are compassionate to one person you must, by definition, be less compassionate to someone else. You cannot be equally compassionate to everyone but you can be equally just.

    Applying that distinction to the present case, it is absolutely true that the Israeli government has shown compassion to Gilad Shalit, but he is only one of over 5 and a half million citizens and their legitimate security needs seem to me to have been trumped.

    As you have both shown, it is exceedingly difficult to keep the natural inclination for compassion at arm’s length, when considering serious matters which call for a rational and objective appraisal of competing interests.

    Regards,

    Geoff

  • Simmy Abraham says:

    Geoff,
    The Shin Bet, Mossad and all of Israel’s top military brass supported the deal to release Shalit. To suggest that they all did so under public pressure would suggest a serious lack of judgement on their part.
    Perhaps there were other geo-political factors that made it in Israel’s interests to do the deal. In such a case Israel would have considered that the price paid was worth it and in fact a lesser risk than the alternative. Imagine for example if there were backroom discussions taking place right now between senior hamas officials and Israelis about a solution to the conflict and this was just one step in that process. (This is not so farfetched it happened in South Africa before the release of Mandela)

    This would have nothing to do with your theory of a paradigm shift in Israeli or indeed Jewish society. I think your observations are worthy but not necessarily relevant in this case.

  • Gedalia says:

    We often derive different and diametrically opposed messages from the same circumstance.

    Maybe there is another way of looking at this. If all the Governments around the world started to put a bit of emotion and compassion for the individual ahead of decision making that is based on numbers, aggregate utilitarian based ethics, and tolerable risk, then the world would be a better place.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Geoff – I have no idea what is right here but I respect that this decision represents the will of the majority of Israelis (assuming that the polling on this issue is accurate)

    Do you think that has bearing on the question what is for the greater good? Does democracy, in providing a mechanism for identifying the wishes of the majority, also play a qualified role in determining what is in the national interest?

    Also what do you think of the possibility that the interest of all Israelis is served by this decision because it fosters willingness to serve in the IDF – a real issue given the increase in number of citizens who do not serve – particularly when you take account of the growing proportion Haredim in Israel who do not serve. So the ideal of putting the national interest before personal interest is laudable but is decreasing and is worst perhaps in the ultra Orthodox world. It does of course beg the question of where this might end, but perhaps the government’s decision reflects an erosion of the social contract on many levels – a discussion in itself as Simmy suggests.

    And how much standing do we in the Diaspora, as stakeholders in Israel but whose children are not at risk in this way, have to express a critical view on this very specific issue of the value of a captive soldier?

  • Geoff Bloch says:

    Hi Simmy,

    Thanks for your post, which I will respond to, but I noticed that you didn’t actually answer the question I had posed. You previously put an argument whose logical conclusion was that any price should be paid to free an Israeli soldier. I suggested that that argument, tested against that conclusion, was insupportable and I inquired where (if at all) you would draw the line as to the price to be paid to redeem a kidnapped soldier. Of course I didn’t expect you to answer the question in terms of the number of terrorists and criminals to be released per kidnapped soldier or in terms of the rate of recidivism to be expected (which, by the way, is about 60% historically I believe). It would have been a sufficient answer had you simply acknowledged that the position you first put was untenable, unless you truly DO believe that any price should be paid.

    Turning then to your most recent post: In your first paragraph, you refer to the fact that several of Israel’s security organs supported the deal and you imply that the deal must therefore have been correct as otherwise it would suggest “a serious lack of judgment” on their part. I have 2 responses because there are, logically, 2 possibilities: Either (1) there HAS been a serious lack of judgment; or (2) there HAS NOT been a serious lack of judgment. As I am no military or security expert I will not presume to know which is the case so I will respond to both possibilities for the sake of argument.

    If (1), it would hardly be the first time Israel has made a serious strategic blunder. There are several examples I could give, but the hitnatkut is a good contemporary example. The thanks Israel got for giving back Gaza and sub-contracting out her southern defence to Egypt (still potentially our greatest enemy) by retreating from the Philadelphi corridor, was the relentless rocketing of her southern civilian population centres. And the blunder was easily foreseeable. As I think you know, I participated in a public debate at Beth Weizman in August 2005 prior to the disengagement where I predicted what would happen (it was pretty obvious to anyone careful not to be influenced by their emotions or wishful thinking).

    If (2), then the scenario you have sketched is very scary. If there was no lack of judgment and the decision to redeem one soldier was taken after obtaining the best intelligence calculations as to the expected rate of recidivism and the likely numbers of civilians to be maimed or murdered as a consequence of the redemption, then we have a government prepared to sacrifice some of its citizens who are NOT yet suffering and whose identities are NOT yet known, for one soldier who IS presently suffering and whose identity IS known. The fact that future terror victims are not suffering and whose identities are unknown at the time the decision is taken, does not, in my view, reduce by one jot the ethics of such a macabre trade-off. I readily concede, however, that both these considerations (suffering and identity) would incline the decision-maker toward attenuating known suffering by a known soldier and therefore would go a long way to explaining how such a lop-sided trade could be contemplated and ultimately implemented.

    But the point I wish to make, Simmy, which applies equally to both (1) and (2), is that the decision to enter into such a lop-sided swap unarguably involves putting the interests of the individual ahead of the greater community and is at least consonant with (although not necessarily caused by) the modern widespread phenomenon whereby younger generations, who increasingly constitute the majority of the voting population, ARE preoccupied with a sense of self and entitlement. There was a time when Israel did NOT negotiate with terrorists as distinct from sovereign enemies (Netanyahu himself wrote a book about it) and the rights of the individual were NOT given precedence over society.  I have simply described this shift as a change in the social contract between the citizen and the State.

    The only other point you have raised which I should respond to is your fanciful analogy between possible, behind the scenes negotiations between Israel and Hamas to end the conflict and similar negotiations between the Republic of South Africa with Nelson Mandela prior to his release from prison. There is simply no analogy to be drawn. Despite the racist apartheid policies of the past, neither those then in power in South Africa nor the ANC was sworn to the elimination and genocide of the other and once the government eschewed its past racist policies, it became inevitable that some form of regime change would emerge. That is simply not the case in the Middle East where the elimination of Israel and her citizens is a central feature of Hamas’s charter.

    Regards,

    Geoff

  • gedalia says:

    The opening sentances of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Dvar Torah this week prove that we are both right:

    I once had the opportunity to ask the Catholic writer Paul Johnson what had struck him most about Judaism during the long period he spent researching it for his masterly A History of the Jews? He replied in roughly these words: “There have been, in the course of history, societies that emphasised the individual – like the secular West today. And there have been others that placed weight on the collective – communist Russia or China, for example.”

    Judaism, he continued, was the most successful example he knew of that managed the delicate balance between both – giving equal weight to individual and collective responsibility. Judaism was a religion of strong individuals and strong communities. This, he said, was very rare and difficult, and constituted one of our greatest achievements.

    It was a wise and subtle observation. Without knowing it, he had in effect paraphrased Hillel’s aphorism: “If I am not for myself, who will be (individual responsibility)? But if I am only for myself, what am I (collective responsibility)?”

  • geoff bloch says:

    Hi Mandi,

    You have raised a number of questions which I will try to address in turn.

    I accept that a majority of Israelis currently support the decision. Long may that sentiment last! The problem is that doubt and regret may take over as adverse consequences of the swap are progressively experienced.

    As a matter of practical politics, of course majority support has a bearing on the decision taken by a sitting government, for the obvious reason that governments need votes. Yours is a nice question, though, as to whether what the public desires is the best indicator of what is in their best interests. In China, North Korea or any other despotic regime, the answer would be a resounding “no”. In a liberal democracy the answer would depend on the circumstances and how informed the public was on the particular issue in question.

    Next, you have asked whether the decision served the interest of all Israelis because it fosters willingness to serve in the IDF. While that must be true to some degree, I read a contrary view in last week’s AJN by an Australian who served in an elite combat unit of the IDF for some years. His view was that the prisoner swap was wrong because he and his friends had risked their lives on dangerous missions in Gaza and the West Bank to capture the very terrorists who were now being freed. He retrospectively resented having been sent on those missions and he questioned why Gilad Shalit’s life was regarded as more valuable than his and his friends’ lives. This is a view not often heard but it is significant coming from someone who served at the coalface and should be acknowledged as legitimate and compelling.

    You then mention that the ultra-orthodox do not serve in the IDF. First of all, some do. Secondly, many non-religious citizens are now opting out. According to Yosef Cohen, chairman of the Israeli organisation “Eshnav”, fully one third of Israeli teenagers do not join the army because they do not feel the same connection to the land that their parents did and because they want to live carefree lives like teenagers elsewhere who do not risk life and limb. Apparently there is an attrition rate during the army course and only 50% of Israeli teenagers complete the mandatory 3 years! If this is true, then the change in the relationship between the State and its civilians is obviously quite marked.

    Finally, you ask what standing we have to express a view on the prisoner swap as we live in the Diaspora and our children are not at risk. Are we not entitled to our opinions and are we not concerned as “stakeholders” in Israel (your term)? In any event, once the swap is a done deal, no opinion given after the event can possibly influence the outcome (not that it could have anyway). But if you do entertain such concerns or objections, they should perhaps be directed at those influential Jews living in the Diaspora (including some living in our community) who have never been coy about opining on matters touching Israel’s security, including, for example, continually calling on Israel to make territorial concessions.

    Regards,

    Geoff

  • geoff bloch says:

    EPILOGUE:

    The events of the past fortnight not only demonstrate the inadequacy of Israel’s criminal code but also raise the question whether regard should be had to traditional Jewish law in reforming that code.

    Yesterday’s Torah reading refers to the Noahide Laws by which God gave mankind a moral code of 7 laws to live by. This became necessary because of the greatest of all lessons taught the previous week in parashat Bereshit, namely that in the absence of a set of ethical rules – in a moral vacuum – violence, brutality, evil and immorality will thrive. So much is clear both from the murder of Abel by Cain and from God’s reflection at the very end of the parasha that man’s natural inclination is toward evil (the reverse of modern humanism which absurdly holds than man is inherently ethical).

    The prohibition against murder is one of those laws: “Shofech dam ha’adam, ba’adam damo yishafech” (Murder is a capital crime and the murderer must be put to death by man). God does not leave it to Himself to mete out judgment – we are instructed that murder, as a capital crime, must form part of our criminal law. Significantly, it is the only one of the 613 commandments mentioned in each of the 5 books of Moses. Surely that emphasises how important it is, yet many contemporary Judeo-Christian societies ignore it, believing they are more sophisticated, more compassionate, more moral and more progressive than the Torah. As a direct consequence, many countries, sadly including Israel, show more compassion to murderers than the murderers extended to their innocent victims. This misplaced compassion devalues the sanctity of human life. It does not uphold it.

    Look at what misplaced compassion has led to. Misery and grief inflicted on terrorist victims’ families at seeing the murderers of their loved ones repatriated home as heroes, not to mention the obvious security risk to Israeli civilians when some of the worst offenders return to maim and murder.

    Had the appropriate sentence been passed on these terrorists, Israel would not have undermined her own security in such a lop-sided prisoner exchange.

    Many colonial powers in the civilised world agreed between themselves in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to enact laws declaring piracy on the high seas to be a capital offence. That legislative initiative virtually eliminated the scourge of piracy in the northern hemisphere.

    Piracy and modern terrorism have a similarity. Both betray a complete disregard for the sanctity of human life because they are not crimes of passion. The precise identity and individuality of the victim is unimportant.

    There was a time when Israel understood that the murder of Jews, just because they were Jews, was unforgivable and the perpetrators did not deserve mercy or compassion. Israel tried and convicted Adolf Eichman for his monstrous crimes and correctly imposed the only appropriate sentence it could have, so as to rid the world of such evil.

    What possible right to life do the two monsters who slit the throats of the Fogel family have, when they arrogated to themselves the right to take innocent life so mercilessly, returning to murder a tiny baby after they had exited the Fogel home because they heard a cry? The truth is, society has largely been desensitised to the barbarity and cruelty of violence. Sometimes it takes a particularly brutal crime to demonstrate the inadequacy of the law.

    If anything is to be learned from the tragedy of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping, it is that the reform of Israel’s criminal code is imperative. Israel should go back to her roots, heed the Torah’s message and enact capital punishment for crimes of terrorism. May Israel never again be confronted with such an appalling dilemma.

  • Reality Check says:

    So geoff, Israel should have it’s own sharia law?

  • Reality Check says:

    And capital punishment should be by stoning? That will show the world how Israel is a light onto the nations, ay geoff.

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