Why Gilad must not be freed “at any price”

The thoughts of all Israelis (and Jews), both ‘left’ and ‘right’, must surely go out to Aviva and Noam (below) Shalit – the parents of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – following the failure of this week’s talks, in Cairo, to obtain his release.

Noam Shalit

Israel was ‘only’ willing to release 325 Palestinian prisoners for Shalit – who will spend his one thousandth day in captivity this Saturday – and not the further one hundred or so demanded by Hamas, but deemed by Israel to be too dangerous and/or to have too much blood on their hands.

Even by its dubious standards, today’s (left-wing) Ha’aretz newspaper contained a ridiculously simplistic, not to say nonsensical, piece of supposed “Analysis” (full article):

there is a price, and if you are not willing to pay it, then in reality, you oppose freeing Shalit . . . This price is reasonable . . . It does not undermine our strength or our existence. It will not change the balance of power between us and them . . . Israel has always released hundreds and thousands of prisoners in exchange for a mere handful. After all, we currently hold some 12,000 prisoners, while they have only one. Yet they are not demanding that we exchange all 12,000 for him.

Well, thank you very much! Try telling that to the parents of a victim of a Hamas massacre, whether at the Passover Seder in Netanya’s Park Hotel (30 dead), Tel Aviv Dolphinarium (21), on Jerusalem’s Number 18 buses (45), in its Machane Yehuda market (16), Sbarro restaurant (15), Café Moment (11), or Hebrew University cafeteria (9).

It is the release of the men responsible for these atrocities (and various others) which constitutes Ehud Olmert’s “red line” . . . one which, I believe, he is right not to cross. (A Google search of the author of today’s piece, Nehemia Shtrasler, shows him to be a regular contributor to The Guardian. Quel surprise!)

Like a rat, Hamas preys on weakness. And that rat knows very well how highly we Jews – so unlike it – value the individual, human life, and our responsibility towards our sons and brothers. Even ignoring the legal, moral, and immediate security considerations of releasing these murderers – how many more Israelis would they slaughter? – giving in to Hamas’s outrageous demands is to invite further kidnappings, not just of Israeli soldiers, but of Israelis and Jews the world over.

So, whilst my heart goes out to the Shalits – if I were in their (unthinkable) shoes, I would also be pressing our Government to meet all of Hamas’s demands (and soon) – it is the responsibility of the State to to take a wider, and more detached, view.

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53 responses to “Why Gilad must not be freed “at any price”

  1. Daniel Tarlow

    Good points Mike, I believe that it is time for the Shalit family and everyone working for Gilad’s release to start putting immense pressure onto Hamas. Instead of Naom Shalit telling everyone immediately after Mr Omlet has spoken to the country that we ahve not done enough, he should have said that Hamas has been intransigent, has not compromised and that the entire worldwide media and PR effort should be changed to reflect this reality. until Hamas is pressured it will not lower its demands. It was not the Israeli government that has made unrealistic demands and it is about time that the Shalits were made to realise this and say so and pass the buck from israel having to give in completely to terrorist demands to terrorists giving in o ours.
    The Israeli Government should be using its vast PR abilities to inform the arab world what has been rejected and how Hamas are causing such intolerable hardships to befall their people. It is absolutely ridiculous that no real pressure has been applied to Hamas in anyway. And if it needs to be military pressure then so be it.
    I always felt that leaving gaza without Gilad was going to be a disaster and that he would still remain a captive even after talks. It was obvious and a pity that our great informed leaders were not able to see such an obvious outcome.
    let us pray that Gilad is reunited quickly and healthily with his family and Am Yisrael and that hamas pay the price for his release and not Israel.

  2. Daniel Greenspan

    Sadly, I agree.

    The rot was clear once it turned out that the massive pressure campaign launched by the media, for the Goldwasser and Regev deal with Hezballah, driving public opinion and thus forcing the hand of the government, culminated in Israel paying a high price for dead, rather than, as implied by the force of the campaign bodies.

    As a nation, we must be clear. Gilad’s life is priceless. But so are the lives of the tens or hundreds of Israelis walking around today who will be killed should we free the people that Hamas is demanding.

  3. I disagree.
    Gilad was kidnapped while serving our country and protecting us. We owe him everything to get him back.
    I would insist on one condition before releasing the palestinian prisoners – proof that Gilad is alive today – then do the swap. If Gilad is alive, we owe him that.
    As a soldier for this country, he put his life on the line.
    As the citizens he was protecting, we have to put our lives on the line to get him back. I wish there were a different way, but there isn’t. There is no justice in this horrible situation. Just get Gilad home.

  4. Memo, whilst I understand where you are coming from, we also owe it: (i) to the families of murdered Israelis, not to release their loved ones’ killers (I cannot imagine the psychological effect on a parent of knowing that one’s son’s or daughter’s killer is roaming around freely), and (ii) to all Israeli civilians, to protect them from such murdering scum. It is, though, as you say, a “horrible situation”.

  5. Daniel Tarlow

    Interesting that the pals in the west bank arent so upset that the deal didnt go through and for good reason. it would have turned the west bank into a terror centre again.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1237392661955&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  6. Daniel Greenspan

    Memo,

    I was speaking as much as a soldier as as a citizen. Yes, I’d hate to be where Gilad is now, but as a soldier, that’s a risk one takes. I certainly couldn’t live with myself if a prisoner swap resulted in tens or hundreds of civilians dying…. (let’s not even mention Elhanan Tanenbaum!)

    Oh, and I’ve also joined the Facebook group:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=26171389125&ref=mf
    “If I die on miluim, please don’t trade my body for a live terrorist”

  7. melchettmike, I think the debt owed to a soldier alive now and in captivity is greater than the debt owed to parents whose children were killed. I agree that it endangers Israeli lives to release convicted killers and accomplices, but that is a potential (and probable) risk, whereas Gilad is alive and at risk now.
    daniel greenspan, I can’t live with myself knowing that Gilad has been sitting in a stinking hole for three years. Also, the facebook group is for the bodies of soldiers who were already killed. I agree – no prisoner swaps for corpses. But if Gilad is alive…

  8. Daniel Greenspan

    Memo,

    >I can’t live with myself knowing that Gilad has been sitting in a stinking hole for three years.

    That’s the power of the (manipulative) media here.

    There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ex-soldiers in worse (yes, worse) condition than Gilad, suffering from debilitating physical and emotional ailments as a result of their army service. We both know that these people receive from the state only a fraction of the support that they deserve.

    Yet you (and I), knowing this fact, manage to live with ourselves, with our mind’s defense mechanism blocking out this, and countless other causes that we couldn’t live with ourselves if we thought about them (children dying for want of re-hydration salts, persistent traffic offenders still driving trucks around this country).

    But, when the media decides that a cause serves its bleeding-heart interests, it takes it upon itself to remind us of the fact daily. I expect that Mike’s comment was triggered by the fact that, for the past 3 days, half of the main evening news has been devoted to Gilad. It’s an important cause… but only one of them!

    One is forced to wonder… if Hamas’s only demands for Gilad’s release had been that the Ha’aretz newspaper close down and Ilana Dayan be taken off air… what miraculous justification would have been found that “free speech saves many lives, and protects the entire state. It cannot be sacrificed for the freedom of a single individual”!

  9. Daniel Greenspan, my concern for Gilad has nothing to do with Haaretz.
    It has to do with my thoughts, as a mother, about the torture I would be going through every minute of every day if G-d forbid my son were a hostage of Hamas, and I hadn’t seen him/ had word of him for three years.
    And please don’t make arrogant assumptions about my thoughts/feelings/defense mechanisms regarding “children dying for want of re-hydration salts, persistent traffic offenders still driving trucks around this country”, nor about the effects of the media upon me. Thankyou.

  10. Daniel Greenspan

    Well, I’m going to bail out of this flame war against an anonymous adversary.

    Maybe I’d never have got into it, had the current “Free Gilad” campaign been as honest as memo’s last post.

    Somehow “let 1000 terrorists loose to save Gilad’s parents from emotional torture” might not have quite cut it with the general public.

  11. memo,

    It is not just the release of killers that is the problem, if you show that you are willing to pay any price, you drastically increase the chances of yet more soldiers and civilians being kidnapped.

    Regrettably, Jews have over a millennium of experience dealing with just this issue, and greater minds than mine (not that difficult) have concluded that there is such a thing as too great a price.

  12. Daniel Marks

    Clearly, the decision has already been made and now we must go through the absurd ceremony of its execution. There will be families of terror victims who will be given ten seconds of air time followed by half an hour of brainwashing by panels of experts, each with a slightly different reason for the deal.

    They’ll be parents of former hostages, or hostages themselves suffering severely from cognitive dissonance. They’ll be the ex-generals who will explain how much stronger we’ll be afterwards and they’ll be the inevitable rhetorical demagogic question:

    “What would you be saying if it was your son?”

    Whatever answer is given the host will smile, role his eyes and then move over to the next item, “How exactly will the exchange take place?” New experts, new answers.

    Clearly the decision has already been made but we’ll anxiously wait for the government to vote anyway. For a moment in time we’ll follow the cabinet meeting like an Israel-France World Cup Final, those who support the deal will be on “our” side, those who oppose it will be the French.

    On the morning of the vote polls will show that 70-80% of us support the deal, everybody likes to back a winner. A friend of the Shalit family will be interviewed from a demonstration somewhere in Jerusalem and when he is told the result there will be a subdued cheer.

    Now the decision has been made journalists will for the first time allow themselves to express their apprehensions and mixed feelings. Now they must be recorded predicting that a wave of terror could follow the release. Had they have said it yesterday it might have endangered the deal, now they must go down on record so if it does go wrong they won’t have appeared too naïve.

    Let nothing I say be interpreted as in any way a criticism of Noam Shalit. He is a fine Jew, father and man; we both have sons of the same age who joined the army at the same time. If, heaven forbid, Amichai had been kidnapped by the Hamas I’d be running around the world demanding the division of Jerusalem or an unconditional withdrawal from everywhere in exchange for his release.

    Clearly the decision has been made and next time the price will be even higher. It’s just a matter of time until the first released terrorist murders his first victim. The clock is ticking, look after your children.

  13. Well said, Daniel. I pray that I am wrong . . . but I fear that we are going to regret this one.

    As I found out to my cost at the kiosk yesterday morning, speaking out against this ‘deal’ at the moment is like saying that you understand why a white Englishman might vote BNP (and who would do that?!)

  14. I wrote the above piece over eight months ago, and – with Gilad Shalit’s release now seemingly imminent – I still feel the same way.

    We are apparently going to be releasing 1,200 of the murdering filth (click here). It’s enough to make you sick.

  15. Tough as it is, my opinion is that the living preceed the dead – (this is also halachically true: when a wedding and funeral meet, right of way is by halacha given to the wedding procession. And not because, as one wag suggested, that at a wedding they are “burying” two people …).
    Thus retrieving Gilad Shalit has precedence over the painful – and totally justified – feelings of bereaved parents and other family.

    To those who suddenly become tough and say “no giving in”, I say that this is not the point in time to stand on principle. First get the soldier back, and then we can discuss the entire issue sans immediate and pressuring emotional overhead.

    The entire Shalit affair was – IMHO – mishandled by Olmert from the start. What I think we should have done was to say “if you steal one of our soldiers, we will steal your land”, and should have invaded a part of the Gaza Strip, say
    one village, and begun to destroy houses, a few at a time. Land is far more important to these – as Mike says, rats – than people.

    Noam Shalit also, IMHO, acted wrongly. He succeeded well in keeping his son in the news, which is important pressure on the government, but also by behaving as the cultured, polite, restrained man that he is, in actual fact he
    has so far achieved bopkes: his son is still imprisoned.

    You hit the nail on the head, Mike, when you quoted your grandfather z”l – my Uncle Sam z”l – as saying “a kind word is worth less than a good piece of shmaltz herring”. Noam Shalit is the kind words man, here.

    A very close relative of mine is in the middle of training as an officer in what they term here “special units”; I’ve told him that if G-d forbid he should ever find himself in Gilad’s position, I would put on the table whatever money it takes to hire some soldiers of fortune to make a corresponding kidnap for trading purposes. Some one did this recently near Ramallah to extricate a Jewish wife and child from marriage to an Arab: press reported that militarily-experienced guys were hired, and the job done well.

    One of the reasons why Olmert acted so miserably in the Shalit affair was the background laid down by the left: the
    “4 Mothers” activities in persuading Barak’s government to leave south Lebanon resulted in Hizballah’s total control of the area, the capture and killing of 2 of our soldiers, and the subsequent 2nd Lebanese war that resulted in some 160 Israeli deaths. But did you ever hear a word of remorse from these “4 mothers”? (the word “mothers”, IMHO, ends prematurely here …).

    Same with the Israeli press: famous leftist journalist Amnon Abromovitch said at the start of the withdrawal from Gaza (the hitnatkut) that Sharon must be guarded like an etrog until the withdrawal was complete. The relevance was
    that Sharon was at that time under investigation for suspicion of various illegal activities. (The creep eventually let his son Omri go to jail for illegally collecting money intended for his father’s election campaign. Some father!).

    At one of the demonstrations preceding the Gaza withdrawal I arrived a bit early, and wandering around I came upon the Israel Television van. By it was a reporter who is a household name here (I’m not saying which part of the house).

    I went up to him and asked him point-blank why the press aren’t reporting the truth about the dangers of the withdrawal (which in fact were later proven to be far worse than any imagined scenario). He replied “you are right, I’m
    trying to”. I said “but we don’t hear it from you. What would happen to you if you really did report what you see and think? Would they fire you?” He replied “no”. “So what’s the problem?” I asked. He replied “etrog”. “What does that
    mean”, I asked him. “They won’t promote me any more”, he replied. (I haven’t given his name, because he spoke to me honestly).

    That is the stranglehold the leftist mafia has over the press and legal systems. Abromovitch himself, as with the “4 mothers” who preceeded him, never admitted to being wrong, and continues today to pontificate on TV as if he
    were an elder statesman, which he probably thinks he is.

    These are the people who are weakening the soul of Israel, because lack of religious background means lack of fervent patriotism, of doubts about our rights to live here.

    The “Peace Now” movement’s activities in Judea and Samaria border on treason; although they claim leftist values they have never ever held democratic, open elections, never revealed the sources of their income, which are said to be from the European Community who wishes to weaken Israel.

    All these factors contribute towards Israel’s feebleness regarding the Gaza Hamas. Bloody Hell, we were there last year – ask goldstone, he’ll tell you all about it – why did we leave Gilad behind in Gaza?

  16. The reason for not overpaying is not because of the feelings of the bereaved, it is that those released will directly cause many, many more bereavements.

  17. Allan,
    A good government can create deterents for not wanting to annoy us. Theoretically, all released terrorists could be persuaded that their best interests lie in their taking sewing and knitting classes conditional to their remaining alive. It’s all a matter of determination and decision. The Cast Lead (Oferet Yetzuka) Gaza incursion last year is ample proof of this.

    We’ve done targeted/precision-bombing before, very well indeed, that is but one option.

  18. According to Halocha you do not overpay for the return of captives as this would encourage further kidnapping, however in the case of the Palastenians, I think we can safely say that releasing Shalit would not encourage them to kidnapp further, as they do not need an insentive to continue kidnapping.

    Lets just hope if and when he is released it is on his own 2 feet and not in a bodybag.

  19. ex-Hasmo (so am I!),
    Your statement does not represent Halacha.
    This week Chief Rabbi Amar said that non-overpayment for captives does not apply when life is in danger.

    Gilad is held captive by a terrorist organization, not a state. Anything can happen to him.

  20. Adrian Reiss (me too),

    The original halacha was in the case of bandits kidnapping a Jew in order to receive ransom. The point was to prevent the price you pay next time from going up. They would be much closer to a terrorist organization than a state.

    However, your posting seems to imply that Gilad Shalit’s life is in danger. I would be interested how assume this to be the case.

    1. From the word go the Hamas made it clear that their purpose for kidnapping Shalit was to exchange him for terrorists.

    2. When threatening Israel the Hamas have said that if they don’t get what they want Shalit won’t see the light of day etc. I can never remember the threat of killing him ever being made.

    3. Killing Shalit would be the worst thing the Hamas could do, they’d have nothing left to exchange and Israel would feel freer to retaliate without the fear of him being harmed.

    Anyway, I’d be interested to know if either you or Rav Amar have any empirical evidence that Shalit’s life is in danger any more than any other kidnapping situation of the type that ex-Hasmo was referring to.

    A

  21. Hi Adrian,

    It is precisely because “the living precede the dead” that these murderers should not be released. What do you think they are going to be doing when they get out . . . working with the elderly?!

    “First get the soldier back, and then we can discuss the entire issue . . .”
    After 1,200 murderers have bolted, you mean?

    I don’t think anyone can blame Mr. Shalit – what exactly should he have done? – or even that shyster (only alleged, of course) Olmert. I know that releasing 1,200 murderers cannot be right . . . though knowing what the ‘right’ solution is is quite another matter.

    “why did we leave Gilad behind in Gaza?”
    I think you know the answer to that one, Adrian.

    Shabbat shalom,

    Mike . . . your “fervent[ly] patrioti[c]”, if not strictly “religious”, cousin!

    PS Daniel, judging by your last comment, I think you are in need of a good shloof this Shabbes!

  22. I had always assumed that the sole reason for imprisoning these ‘murderers’ (as opposed to executing them for their crimes) was to use them to bargain for the release of captured Israelis.

    If dueto their extreme murderousness, they will never be used as such, why is money being spent on keeping them warm and fed?

    Can someone enlighten me?

    Jeremy

  23. Why assume that, Jeremy? Deterrence and retribution are the two main reasons for punishment. With a few exceptions (for example, war crimes – Eichmann), there is no death penalty here.

  24. I thought Israel imposed the death penalty for those convicted of acts of terror. If I’m wrong, fair enough.

    Regarding retribution as a reason for punishment…

    It was a PRIMITIVE reason for punishment. No longer.

    Since Thomas Hobbes (16th C) denigrated revenge as a moral motivation for punishment, most jurists have argued that punishment must not be based upon retribution, despite (or perhaps because of) the very human tendency to do just that. Prevention and deterrence are the principle benefits to society of punishing criminals. Retribution does not resolve injustice into justice, but intensifies the injustice (Bentham, 19th C).

    “Because the desire for revenge is rooted in the animalistic part of oneself, it cannot claim to be moral” – Immanuel Kant (18th C)

    Jeremy

  25. No, Jeremy, there is only capital punishment in Israel for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and treason in wartime (though I am campaigning for the introduction of a whole new range of offences, including talking on a mobile phone in the cinema and opening the overhead locker before your flight has landed). The death penalty has only been applied twice (see here for more info).

    And, whilst I commend your research, I think it paints a rather one-sided picture – retribution is still very much an accepted theory of punishment (see here).

  26. Daniel,

    [quote]
    Anyway, I’d be interested to know if either you or Rav Amar have any empirical evidence that Shalit’s life is in danger any more than any other kidnapping situation of the type that ex-Hasmo was referring to.
    [end quote]

    Gilad’s life will certainly be in danger the next time Israel invades Gaza, and believe me its on the cards … what I am basically saying is that few situations are more volatile than Gilad’s, hence also his current life expectancy.

    I don’t know if you live in Israel or not – if you do, you are well aware of the trauma of Ron Arad.
    Also, the Nachshon rescue attempt that failed because not enough explosive was used on
    the door of the room where Nachson was kept, and he was subsequently killed by his terrorist captors.
    Also the 2 soldiers captured and killed by Hizbollah which started the last Lebanon war.

    Going by recent experiences, your complacency regarding Gilad’s life is totally unrealistic.

    [quote]
    When threatening Israel the Hamas have said that if they don’t get what they want Shalit won’t see the light of day etc. I can never remember the threat of killing him ever being made.
    [end quote]

    – and you believe them to the point of making halachic decisions … would you buy a used car from a Hamas doctor who only used it on sundays?
    ——-

    (cousin) Mike:
    Your argument is as good as mine, but I still feel that the last Israeli visit to Gaza (last year)
    presented Hamas with a reasonable enough deterrent to prevent renewal of massive terroristic activities.

    There’s a nasty, chauvinistic joke – with which I do not identify in any way, that goes:
    Q. What do you explain to a woman with 2 black eyes?
    A. Nothing, she’s already received two explanations …

    – the above certainly does apply to Hamas – the deterrent is there, the only problem in applying it is the (Israeli) government’s fear of the press and other left obstacles.

    —-

    Mike,
    I’m in full support of your campaign for restoring the death penalty, in particular for the 2 odious offences you mentioned: pre-landing overhead locker-opening, and mobile phone
    uses in public – I would add on buses, as well.

  27. Adrian Reiss,

    I don’t think I’m being complacent. Every time we’ve released terrorists on mass it’s led to renewed terror and the killing of civilians, normally tens or even hundreds of times more than the number of soldiers released. Future victims have a right to our protection too.

    I don’t think I’m being complacent. Ex-Hasmo quoted halachah saying that ransom shouldn’t be paid more than the hostages worth. You said that this doesn’t apply if the hostages life is in danger, implying that you know something we don’t know about Shalit. I asked you if you did and by the generalities that you threw out regarding Arad and Waxman I assume that you don’t.

    Actually, when the halachah says “his worth” it means his value as a slave in the market. Nobody is suggesting that Shalit should not be released or that that the halachic price should be paid.

    I’m not sure if you live in Israel but if you do you may know that everyone here wants him released, but there are naive souls who by demanding that “we must do everything” or “pay any price” have screwed up negotiations more than once and have probably delayed his release.

    Others, including Ehud Barak and apparently the USA too, are worried that paying too high a price will just inflate the value of our next hostage, G-d forbid.

    If you live in Israel, you probably know that it’s a complicated situation and we have too choose between two lousy options.

    If you live in Israel you may know that talking in simplistic black and white terms is hardly in fitting with the ambiance of the Middle East.

  28. Daniel,

    1. I live in Jerusalem – have been here since 1966, and in Israel in general since 1964.

    2.
    [quote]
    I don’t think I’m being complacent. Ex-Hasmo quoted halachah saying that ransom shouldn’t be paid more than the hostages worth. You said that this doesn’t apply if the hostages life is in danger, implying that you know something we don’t know about Shalit. I asked you if you did and by the generalities that you threw out regarding Arad and Waxman I assume that you don’t.
    [end quote]

    Waxman z”l and Arad are not “generalities” – they are the “empirical” facts you requested earlier. Specifically on _these_ cases should we base future behaviour.

    Shimon Peres was once quoted as saying there is nothing to learn from history. Since he is father of all the Oslo criminals, I’m proud to differ.

    If you don’t see Gilad’s life as being in danger, I suggest you contact your insurance agent and request a quote for insuring his life – if his answer doesn’t alter your opinion, we’ll just have to agree to differ; we obviously view the current situation from vastly different viewpoints.

    Ehud Barak’s only current worry is whether his party will number one or two digits after the next election.

  29. “Waxman z”l and Arad are not “generalities” – they are the “empirical” facts”

    In the case of Waxman, as you said there were tactical mistakes made in his rescue. In the case of Arad, we’re still not sure what happened. The cases don’t, in my opinion, have any direct bearing on the matter under discussion, other than the obvious fact that the former case (Waxman) was also a kidnapping.

    If you don’t see Gilad’s life as being in danger, I suggest you contact your insurance agent and request a quote for insuring his life…”

    Obviously, the life of any (almost any) hostage is in greater danger than a free person. This discussion began with Choirboy saying that according to halacha a hostage should not be paid more than his value and your claiming that this is a special case because Shalit’s life is in danger.

    My only point is (was) that I see no reason why this could not be considered a normal kidnapping case as there are no SPECIAL reasons to see his life in danger more than a normal hostage. Anyway, I think we’ve understood each other.

    “Ehud Barak’s only current worry is whether his party will number one or two digits after the next election.”

    While I’ve never voted for Barak and disagreeing with his left-wing ideology (if he has one, if such a thing still exists), I think that this is an unfair things to say about Israel’s most decorated soldier and a politician as good and moral as most others in the knesset. I do not believe that he (or most other MKs) would willingly do anything which they think would harm Israel even at the cost of votes, call me naive.

  30. “While I’ve never voted for Barak and disagreeing with his left-wing ideology (if he has one, if such a thing still exists), I think that this is an unfair things to say about Israel’s most decorated soldier and a politician as good and moral as most others in the knesset. I do not believe that he (or most other MKs) would willingly do anything which they think would harm Israel even at the cost of votes, call me naive.|”

    I do agree with you that Barak thinks he is doing good for his country. But that is a subjective view.
    Objectively, the Oslo criminals, starting with Rabin but instigated by Peres, have much blood on their hands. I personally know 10 families who have had relatives murdered as a result of the criminal Oslo agreement.

    Rabin, IMHO, was not a bad person, but he had the IQ of a banana – it was commonly said that he didn’t have the intellectual capability of smilng and chewing gum simultaneously. Peres led him by the hand thru Oslo (remember, Peres got the Nobel as well).

    Since then the Mapai followers still insist on blinding us to the bitter truth – the Arabs want “their” land back – and keep on holding false promises of “peace”.

    As Barak once said, if he had been born an Arab, he would have joined Hamas! I would never have said that about him, but he himself said it!

  31. “As Barak once said, if he had been born an Arab, he would have joined Hamas!” –

    I also think it was a silly thing to say but Barak often shoots from the hip.

    Anyway, he was not expressing sympathy with the Hamas he was talking about a hypothetical situation.

    I think that, for example, a person may say that had he been born a German Christian and had he been alive in the 1930s and 40s he may have belonged to the Nazi party. This doesn’t mean that he is now a secret Nazi.

    Like I said, it was a silly thing to say and it’s a good kind of thing to use to embarrass him, but it shouldn’t be used for serious discussion.

  32. After careful consideration, I’m also nearing the point where I can say that I also don’t think that Barak is now a secret Nazi.

    However, his recent activities regarding halting building in parts of Eretz Yisrael, are anti-Zionistic; building Eretz Yisrael is a crucial part of Zionism.

    Just look at what happened to the “leaders” responsible for the destruction and abandonement of Gush Katif:

    1. President Moshe Katzav – exposed as a sexual pervert.

    2. Sharon – (now known as the Zemach Zedek)
    -neither the earth of Eretz Yisrael nor the Devil want him.

    3. Haim Ramon – deputy Prime Minister at the time – also exposed and punished as a sexual offender.

    4. Army Chief of Staff General Dan Halutz – forced to resign.

    5. Moshe Karadi – Chief of Police – forced to resign.

    “Ein Mekifim bechlul Hashem” – when will these irreligious jerks begin to get the message?

  33. Look also at the two Rabbis who told soldiers to refuse an order:

    1. Rav Avrum Shapiro – Gone the way of all men.

    2. Rav Mordechai Elyahu – On the way there.

    It makes ye think!?

  34. no it doesn’t.

  35. Okay Adrian,

    I opposed the disengagement, demonstrated etc, my daughter was arrested several times and so on. I live in Maale Adumim and without knowing you, imagine that I’m not that much less fanatical than you.

    But what is all this mystical claptrap?

    When Arik Sharon becomes a vegetable that’s proof that he was being punished for the disengagement, when Rav Avrum dies it doesn’t prove anything.

    I can’t actually recall Katzav being one of the driving forces behind the disengagement and, if he is convicted, it will be for crimes he committed when he was still a loyal supporter of Gush Katif.

    Shimon Peres also supported the disengagement and then won a vote (to be president) for one of the first times in his life. Rivlin opposed disengagement and lost.

    Fundamental to Jewish belief is the idea that there are righteous men who have good lives and wicked men who have bad lives. There are also
    righteous men who have bad lives and wicked men who have good lives. The midrash tells about Moses asking G-d to explain to him why this was so. The answers are many and probably fall out of the scope of Twatter.

    But to just randomly point at random things that have happened to random people and use that to prove whether you’re right or wrong. That, as I’ve said, is just claptrap.

  36. Why do wicked men have good lives and in too many cases, great lives?

    This question is a theme of Psalms and I remember seeing the same question asked by Rambam, a few months ago in the Artscroll commentary on Shir Hashirim / Song of Songs.

    There’s no understandable answer to that in this life.

  37. Adrian,

    We Reiss’s are moderates – my grandfather (your uncle Sam) z”l was a committed Liberal when most other North-West London Jews were unwavering Tories or socialists – what happened to you?!

    You write: “Objectively, the Oslo criminals, starting with Rabin but instigated by Peres, have much blood on their hands. I personally know 10 families who have had relatives murdered as a result of the criminal Oslo agreement.”

    But we can only speculate as to how many might have been murdered without it. There are no simple decisions here. And do you really believe that Israel can and/or should continue to rule over 4 million, primarily hostile, Palestinians?

    Even if you disagree with the decisions they have taken, labelling Peres and Rabin – and Sharon, Barak, etc – “criminals” is, to my mind, abhorrent. Personally, I would rather have them leading us than any one of the extremist nuts who you would undoubtedly prefer.

    As for Barak saying that “if I had been born an Arab, I would have joined Hamas” . . . wouldn’t you?! By the sounds of things, you’d be leading one of its more militant splinter groups!

    As for your “what happened next” re “the “leaders” responsible for the destruction and abandonement of Gush Katif”, do you seriously consider that God made Katzav a rapist (allegedly) because he didn’t do enough to support our – in the view of most Israelis, untenable – presence in Gaza? To quote Daniel (that’s a first!), “claptrap”.

    Moreover, your inclusion in the list of Sharon is both tasteless and disrespectful of a Hebrew legend more real than any of those in the Bible.

    All that is without my cousin’s ‘hat’ on . . . it is now back in place, and I can say that at least you give me some credibility with Marks and my other Settler readers! 😉

    Your “irreligious jerk” cousin.

  38. “clap-trap” is often used by people who don’t understand the phenomenon before their eyes, and so lacking the tools which which to encounter and study the matter, they dismiss it. I once had a boss of such ilk, who knew nothing of Judaism, and dismissed anything even slightly spiritual as “pilosophia” in a derogatory tone.

    Halachically, even had the settlements in Gush Katif the legal definition of an idolotarous city – Ir HaNidachat – it would have been forbidden to destroy them because (1) they were border settlements and (2) one is not allowed to destroy any 3 consecutive settlements in Eretz Yisrael becase of what is termed “karcha”. See Rambam on this matter.

    The destruction was a crime against G-d (chilul HaShem) and a crime against Eretz Yisrael (see previous para). Not to mention the ruin of thousands of settlers’ lives.

    Had only Sharon suffered, the question of his “retribution” would have been “iffy”, although still visible. But when the 5 highest leaders in the country all “go” together within a brief period of time, only a fool would close his eyes and say “coincidence”.

    And I would add the miserable perfomance of Zahal in the 2nd Lebanese War, following the destruction of Gush Katif: can the army of Israel wreak massive destruction in Eretz Yisrael, transfering lands to the enemy, and then go and win battles? I just can’t see it happening. And in this case, it didn’t (which is why dan halutz was kicked out).

    As for Katzav, on the 1st day of the destruction Katzav appeared on TV together with Sharon (this was at Sharon’s specific request) to give “presidential support” to the acts of destruction. His sexual perversions had been known to the press many years before, as admitted by journalist Shalom Yerushalmi. Why did they come to light only after the hitnatkut?

    On the general matter of trying to understand G-d’s actions and reactions, I quote you two cases:

    (1) The loss of the submarine Dakar (AFAIK in 1969) occurred at the same time as one of those witch-hunts regarding enlisting Yeshiva students to the army. At that time Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook z”l connected the 2 events, by saying: (1) the Torah is compared to water (divrei Torah nimshelu lemayim), and (2) ein mekifim bechilul HaShem – there is no “credit” when chilul HaShem is involved – meaning that “payment” – retribution – is never deferred, always immediate.

    (2) I recommend that you look for an article written by Rav Soloveichik written some fifty years ago, entitled “Kol Dodi Dofek” – he shows the visible Hand of G-d in History concerning the establishment of the State of Israel, starting with the League of Nations which gave the mandate here to Great Britain, in 1919.

  39. Mike,
    The Reiss’s were as you say all moderates, but they were businessmen in a country were “it’s not done”, “cricket”, “fair play” were all active buzz-words; they were under none of the pressures that every Israeli accepts as a normal fact of life (although not by choice).

    Ango-Jewry is probably one of the weakest congregations in the western-world Jewish-culture-wise. It
    has not produced one great Jew (“great Jews” are usually scholars, in this context) in a thousand years. The one who was most famous – Disraeli – became so because he abandoned Judaism!

    You said: “We can only speculate as to how many might have been murdered without it (Oslo)”.
    Not true. We know how many people had been murdered before the agreement. There were far, far less murders before Oslo.

    You said: “And do you really believe that Israel can and/or should continue to rule over 4 million, primarily
    hostile, Palestinians?”. First there’s no such thing as a “Palestinian”. There were Jordanian and Egyptian Arabs. We aren’t halachically allowed to relinquish parts of Eretz Yisrael, so Autonomy is the proper solution. And for sheer self-defense purposes, I would never allow what is happening now in Gaza – the massive arming of Hamas, arms to be used against us.

    As for “abhorrent”, IMHO what Rabin and Peres did was just that.

    You said: “As for Barak saying that “if he had been born an Arab, he would have joined Hamas” . . . wouldn’t you?! By the sounds of things, you’d be leading one of its more militant splinter groups!”

    – I certainly wouldn’t lead a splinter group, I probably would get up and fight within a general
    consensus, but I certainly wouldn’t talk about it the way Barak did.

    I do certainly regard myself as right-wing. And see most of the left as vastly devoid of knowledge of Judaism, which leaves them only one choice: to act as Goyim, which they do.
    (Mike, if you want a new thread here, I have what to say on separation of church and state …)

    You said: “do you seriously consider that God made Katzav a rapist (allegedly) because he didn’t do enough to support the untenable, continuing rule over Palestinans? To quote Daniel, “claptrap”. Moreover, your inclusion in the list of Sharon is both tasteless and disrespectful of a Hebrew legend more real than any of those in the Bible. ”

    – I don’t think G-d made Katzav a rapist, and never said anything near that. That was his own free will. But it appears that his punishment for supporting the Gush Katif terrorists was the revelation of his self-chosen rapist activities.

    As for Sharon, I supported him strongly for over 20 years. I have a letter from him, a reply to a letter I sent supporting him in 1981, when the left were climbing all over him. I served in the army reserves in Lebanon twice, and that didn’t reduce my support of him by one iota. But the Gush Katif thing – designed only to turn attention away from criminal proceedings that were about to endanger him – that was too much.

    I think you’re my only cousin who is willing to define himself as “an irreligious jerk”, which makes you rare – so look after yourself …

  40. No, Adrian! You – “when will these irreligious jerks begin to get the message?” – define me as that!

    As you yourself have told me, you are not in touch with nearly any Reiss’s . . . which is perhaps just as well, seeing as 90% of them would probably consider me a frummer!

  41. Maybe if I said “some of my best friends are jerks” it would sound better – but I don’t have any such friends, so I can’t.

    As for “frummers”, had I not come to Israel, I’d probably have gone what you define as the Reiss way, and wouldn’t have been one myself.

  42. I didn’t “define [it] as the Reiss way”. God (or Whoever) forbid. But it is a Reiss way. And the majority one (though that doesn’t necessarily make it the correct one).

    I try not to discriminate between people – especially not family! – on the basis of their religious views, which are a matter for them (unless they wish to discuss those views). And, however cliched, I know non-frum people who I consider more moral and better human beings than many frum ones.

    So, wherever they may be, love to all Reiss’s (and, for that matter, Isaacsons!)

  43. Oh no! Have I walked in uninvited on a Reiss family reunion? With your permission I’ll address Adrian the “tasteless and disrespectful supporter of extremist nuts” rather than his dearly loved cousin Mike, the now self confessed “irreligious jerk”. Be sure to invite me the Reiss Hanukah party, I’ll bring a bullet-proof vest.

    Adrian, don’t read too much into the word claptrap. I wanted to say balderdash but forgot how to spell it. Hogwash sounded too treif and nonsense too mild.

    I agree with you that the disengagement was a terrible mistake. I also know that when you say “crime” you mean morally rather than legally, and I agree with you there too. The whole ir nidachat thing was mainly irrelevant but I have a friend called Benny who always tries to apply any gemara that we happen to be learning to whatever the headline in Yediot is, or whatever’s on his mind, so you’re not alone.

    You may ask, if we agree about so much where do our ways part?

    I’ve read “Kol Dodi Dofek” and it is truly beautiful. The concepts of “Reward and punishment” as well as G-d’s ever-presence are fundamental to Jewish thought. Furthermore, we all know that anyone who sees a leaf blowing over in the wind and doubts whether G-d knew of it is not but a fool. Of course the hand of G-d is everywhere, sometimes with such potency that we sense that we can almost see it. Giants like Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik may even once in a lifetime actually see the hand of G-d banging a hammer at the United Nations.

    However, unfortunately Adrian, neither you nor I are Rav Soloveitchik. Nor are the midgets who make their nasty little shopping lists looking for everyone who’s had a toothache since the terrible expulsion from Gush Katiff, claiming to see the hand of G-d in their misfortunes.

    Maybe G-d was punishing Sharon, maybe he was rewarding Peres. Maybe he was angry with Katzav because he might have raped women. That’s also a crime, not just appearing for 10 minutes next to Sharon. Maybe Rav Avrum was punished for his arrogance; maybe Rav Aviner who opposed refusing an order was rewarded. Maybe Kahane and Gindhi were punished, maybe they were martyrs, maybe both.

    Yup, these are not simple questions and in the words of Woodthorpe Harrison, there are no easy answers. So I’ll leave you guys to enjoy your family reunion instead.

  44. Daniel,
    We are in fact planning a Reiss family reunion, which is how I got into this blog in the first place (Mike’s blog is pointed to in Wikipedia).

    “So, wherever they may be, love to all Reiss’s (and, for that matter, Isaacsons!)”
    – I concur fully!

  45. How lovely. A “tasteless and disrespectful supporter of extremist nuts” and a self proclaimed “irreligious jerk” with such mutual adoration.

    A match made in heaven!

  46. David,
    given your propensity to promote (and enjoy the prospects of) fights between others, I have to assume that you are a lawyer by profession …

  47. Daniel, kindly don’t put me in quote marks before grasping the nuances of the English language in a little more depth than a teacher.

    Adrian, yes, Daniel would have us all believe that he is the blog peacemaker who loves all of us only less than gay Reform Jews (and himself of course) . . . yet the reality is that he enjoys nothing more than a good – if you will excuse the expression – “shit-stir”.

  48. How wonderful to be the catalyst in bringing the tasteless and disrespectful supporter of extremist nuts and the self proclaimed irreligious jerk together. You see, you both agree about something, even if it’s about me.

    Enjoy your family reunion kids!

  49. Daniel,
    sorry to spoil your fun, but I don’t think you are allowed to represent both “sides” …

  50. With this coming Friday marking four years since the capture of Gilad Shalit, the bullshit and lies have already started flowing. Likud MK Miri Regev yesterday:

    “It’s clear that the price of Shalit’s release is releasing prisoners with blood on their hands. But we must remember that precedent . . . has proven that prisoners have not rushed to return to terrorist activity; the majority merely sought to return to their families.” (Haaretz)

    Quite, Ms. Regev. And to play Trivial Pursuit and PlayStation with those families . . . oh yes, except those who “sought to return to” murder Israelis: http://www.haaretz.com/news/suicide-bomber-rocks-hadera-market-1.172668

    The nincompoop continued:

    “And on the other hand, we have a defense establishment whose job it is to lay its hands on those who resume hostile activity.”

    On the mark again, Ms. Regev. Why shouldn’t we risk more of our youngsters by getting them to hunt down released killers in the West Bank, or – even more fun – in Gaza?! It’s better than them getting bored!

    It just beggars belief . . .

  51. A bittersweet day. Though – for the reasons outlined in my post above – far more bitter, for me, than sweet (and not just because there’ll be no more choccy cake for Dexxy on Rechov Aza).

  52. To understand the difference between us and them, you just need to observe the emaciated Shalit, on the one hand, and all those fat murderous c*nts on the other.

  53. Look on the bright side. After much deliberation, it seems that the Palestinians and the Israeli’s can finally agree on one thing. One Israeli is worth 1,027 Palestinians.

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