This week, after two years, Israel confirmed the truth it did not want to know. Our soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were dead and had likely died within hours of their being taken across the border. All the rest, the comments from Nasrallah that they would be killed if we didn’t negotiate, the hints that they were alive, all meant to torture the families and Israel as a whole.
Finally, the Israeli government released some information, trying desperately to prepare us. We were told that they were likely both dead. The Germans, who were involved in the negotiations tried to warn us as well. But then the families would come out and say that there was no proof and the circle would begin again. All signs pointed to their having died during the initial attack. We all knew it, until we saw the coffins. For most of us, there had been no doubt, until we saw the coffins.
Then, Lebanon TV was broadcasting pictures of the coffins and we could no longer deny the truth. My eyes filled with tears when I saw the coffins, when I read about how the families were suffering. All of Israel cried, I believe. They were tears we had held for two years, forced back by the hope that somehow Israeli intelligence would be wrong, that somehow this time, Hizbollah would be humane. Israeli intelligence was right; Hizbollah held its tradition of inhumanity to the point of indecency, cruelty and utter monstrosity.
The inevitable discussions of whether it was a fair and just idea to exchange 5 terrorists, including Samir Kuntar, and 190 bodies for our two soldiers’ bodies filled the airwaves and news sites. Politicians jumped in to praise or condemn. Lebanon began their celebrations even before their hostages arrived and Israel quietly began mourning. We are right to mourn, and right to feel pride in our mourning, our soldiers.
Elie came home today and after dinner I asked him what he thought and how he felt about the prisoner exchange this week. I told him that I’d cried, that I just couldn’t believe it…even having known it would be.
“I cried too,” Elie told me and in those three words I realized how far he had come and how open he was. There is no shame in crying this week. The greatest shame goes to the people in Lebanon who didn’t cry, but danced and celebrated the return of a child-killer.
May the Goldwasser and Regev families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may they know no more sorrow. And for Nasrallah and Kuntar and Lebanon, may you know no peace; may you sleep forever haunted by the memories of those you have murdered and may the truest of justice be yours, if not in this world, than in the next.