And the Warning in the Trade

I have no official capacity in the Israeli government, no power in the society. I am not a lawyer or a judge to help forge or enforce laws, nor a politician to help formulate them. I never served in the army and so have no control over how the generals will order our soldiers to react.

I am nothing but a mother. I can’t say I speak for all mothers, or even for anyone but myself. I can say only that this is what I want the government to say, this is what I want politicians to pass into law. This is what I want judges to rule, lawyers to argue and most of all, generals to enforce.

So, here are my thoughts for the people I cannot reach, and my warnings on the trade:

Dear Palestinians:

There will be no more terrorist swaps. You’ve gotten your last exchange. Not because we will not try to get future kidnapped soldiers back, but because there will be nothing for which to exchange. We will, finally, fight force with force. If you send your sons to kill us, they will be killed. If you try to blow us up, you will be blown up. We will no longer issue orders that demand our soldiers shoot low and avoid your deaths.  

You do not care about your lives, why should we?  Enter our cities to die…and you will. Like any other nation, your deaths will be the natural result of the violence you cause. No longer can you rely on our humanity, our attempts to minimize casualties and injuries. 

If you dare to enter our towns to murder our children, we will stop you before…or we will hunt you down. And when we surround your homes and ask you to surrender, we hope you will fight us. And if at times we finally use the extreme force you regularly accuse us of, the world will remember this ridiculous exchange and understand. No other nation in the world would make a trade like this one. But despite how it looks, we are not stupid.

Enjoy these 1,000 prisoners because you’ll get no more from us. If these 1,000 return to terror, our soldiers will shoot to kill. There will be a dramatic and mysterious lowering of the number of arrests and a concurrently large rise in fatalities among your terrorist organizations. Oh, and those that we release this week – they’ve been given a second chance to live their lives in peace and make the right choice. For each that makes the wrong one, there is a bullet with his name engraved on it and waiting. If they live their lives in peace, we will abide by our decision to release them; if they return to their terrorist roots, there will be no second trial. 

 Dear Israeli Politicians,

Israel has the death penalty for one crime only – the Holocaust. We have, in our 63 years of existence, only sentenced one man to death – Adolf Eichmann, for his part in the murder of over 6,000,000 Jews. It is time to amend that law to cover the terrorist murderers who attack our children. The Awad cousins should not be allowed to spend their time in prison waiting for the next prison release. In cold blood, they attacked the Fogel family and murdered Udi and Ruthi Fogel and their three children. 

They did it believing that their names will appear on some list in the future. Do not let their names or the names of others who commit such crimes to be part of a list. No more lists; no more exchanges. Even before the deal has been made, Hamas is already claiming that if we would release 1,000, we would release 4,000.

Pass the law and enforce it.  

And finally…

Dear Gilad,

You have sacrificed more than five years of your life for Israel. Your parents did all they could so that you would be free. Never blame them for failing to bring you home sooner. The choice to free you was never theirs. It was a decision made by this government, these leaders and perhaps these generals.

Any parent, all parents, would fight as your parents did. But you have to know one truth: in the future, others will die for the freedom you will hopefully receive this week. The guilt for the deaths to come will never rest on the head of your parents or on your head. It is natural and right for parents to fight for their sons; proper for someone to want to be free. Just as the decision to make this deal was never theirs; the responsibility for its outcome is not theirs to bear. 

We will bury many for the deal we make this week. You have to find the strength to know that it is not your fault, not your guilt. You have one job to do for Israel and your parents – and that is to live. To have the best life, the happiest one. Find a wonderful girl and have many Jewish children – that will be our answer to Hamas. Raise them as proud Israelis and let your sons fight to be combat soldiers as you did – that will be our answer to Hamas too.

10 Comments on And the Warning in the Trade

  1. For days I have asked the question to those that are angry about the exchange…what would you do if Gilad was your son? What should be the answer to this horrible dilemma? Finally someone answered my questions. Thank you.

    You letter to Gilad made me cry. It is the age old testament to the Jewish survivor…Live, defy our enemies, bring life and strength to the Jewish people.

  2. For each that makes the wrong one, there is a bullet with his name engraved on it and waiting
    Wow! Soldiers Mother that is a line quite suitalble for Clint Eastwood in one of his Italowestern

  3. Hi Peter,

    So, I’ll tell you a secret. I hope with all my heart that some Palestinian reads this and believes it. If it works to deter them from violence, my purpose has been met. Do I expect Israelis to have a bullet for each of those we release…no. Do I expect us to hunt them down…no.

    Do I understand the sheer agony of the families of the victims of these killers? I absolutely do. For each, this release is another death. Israel has, with this trade, killed their relatives again and there is nothing we can do to console these people because we all know that many of these prisoners will kill again as soon as they can.

    Clint Eastwood? Well…did it work? Was the criminal deterred? Were they quaking in their cowboy boots? If so…I can only hope it works again.

  4. I’m in the minority in opposing this deal. But if I have to, I will sacrifice my own child as Abraham did, rather feed other innocent children to the insatiable evil appetite of Molech. I would never endanger other people’s children. Judaism opposes human sacrifice. Its not my place to ask them to die for an illusory freedom for my child. If it is not right and not just, I will not do it. I cannot contravene Heaven even for my own flesh and blood. I owe G-d my primary obedience.

  5. Why is it so important that he gets jewish children? What if he meet a non-religious girl. They will still be israeli. I dont understand this.

  6. What I fear is that Gilad has turncoat and is an agent for Hamas. Heaven help us then.

    Good Sabbot.

  7. Dear Independent Patriot – I’m glad I could offer some sort of response. In truth, I’m not sure anyone wants to imagine what they would do or feel in a similar situation. Without doubt, we cannot blame Gilad’s family for never stopping to fight for him. We can only hope this deal does not result in the deaths of so many others…as so many of us fear.

  8. Dear Anonymous – It seems you are mixing up terms and putting words in my mouth that do not exist. What I wrote was that I wanted Gilad to marry and raise Jewish children. By this I mean – raise the very type of children that his enemies hate and have tried to destroy. I have always believed our children are our future and our best response. Two of my children are named for relatives that died in the Holocaust; two are named for survivors. They are, without doubt, my best answer to Hitler and what he tried to do to the Jews.

    As to Gilad raising religious children – I never said anything about that. A Jew is a Jew – regardless of whether he or she is religious or observant. Gilad is a Jew, as are his parents and siblings, neighbors and friends. That they will be Israeli is also something important – I wish both for Gilad – that they be Jews and that they be Israelis. If having experienced what he did, he comes back and chooses to be religious, or finds a girl who is religious, that is a personal decision. I wish many things for Gilad – many I did not write here. I’ll leave that for everyone else – take a moment and say a prayer for Gilad. For all the suffering he did at the hands of our enemies, may he find peace.

  9. Dear Findalis, It’s funny – of all the things I have considered for the future, Gilad turning into an agent of Hamas is not one of them. Whatever he had to say or do to survive to this moment will be behind him the moment he is returned. I have little doubt after 5 years there, that he speaks Arabic. I have little doubt that all he knows of those who have held him will soon be in our hands; and I have little doubt that Gilad will never support or favor those who held him in darkness and kept him from his family.

    He will return to light and freedom, his mother’s food and love, his father’s devotion…no, he will not be a spy for Gaza. He will be their most determined enemy…though I doubt he will ever return to the army. He has served Israel every moment for the last 5 years…all I wish for him is peace and a wonderful future and I trust our army implicitly. Whatever Gilad knew of the tank in which he served may well be known to Hamas…but it means nothing. The army took that into consideration long ago.

    It matters not at all, as we prepare to welcome Gilad home…and hope the price we pay won’t be more than we can pay in the future.

  10. And finally – Dear NormanF…

    You are not in the minority, at least I do not think you are. We are all terrified by this deal and think it incredibly dangerous. We all want to slap the government and ask, “what were you thinking? 1027 for one? Are you insane?”

    More – if you were going to agree to release 1,000 anyway, why did Gilad have to suffer for 5 years. This is what Hamas asked for then…why didn’t you just bend over and let them kick us in the rear 5 years ago?

    But the deal does appear to be going through and so we are trying desperately to accept that it is time and Gilad will come home. And then we are praying for a miracle – that Israel will have the spine to make it clear that there will be no other deals like this again; that future kidnappings won’t result in future deals like this.

    I don’t know how we will do it. I don’t agree that this deal is proper, smart, etc.

    I would not agree to it and pray with everything inside of me that I’d have the strength to stick to that conviction if, God forbid, the captive soldier was one of mine.

    I have, it seems, found a way to separate two streams of feelings. The one that is anger and disgust at this stupid deal; and the one that is joy and hope that Gilad will come home. I feel both; I celebrate – and condemn – this deal. I fear and I rejoice.

    Is this normal? I think, actually it is. I really doubt that anyone in Israel thinks this is a smart deal; I’m not even sure if we think it is a necessary one.

    But it seems to be one that will go through and it seems to be one that says we are not like others and somehow will try to make the best of it. Hopefully, the government will put into effect laws that will prevent this from happening again; perhaps the death sentence; perhaps army rules that allow for a …shall we say…lower percentage of survivors when confronting violent terrorists. Whatever…but that discussion doesn’t change our prayers for Gilad.

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