The day after: Israel reacts

The day after Israel’s prisoner swap deal with Hezbollah, there was pain and anger in the Jewish state.

  • Ari Shavit in Ha’aretz:

    Here are the results of Israel’s war against Hezbollah so far. Hezbollah is bringing home a living murderer, and Israel is bringing home two dead soldiers – over whose capture it sacrificed 160 other soldiers and civilians.

    Hezbollah celebrates a symbolic victory, and Israel is in ideological crisis.

    Hezbollah has won almost complete political control over Lebanon, and Israel wallows in irrevocable political chaos.

    Hezbollah is armed with 40,000 rockets threatening most of Israel’s territory, while Israel has no response.

    Hezbollah increases its firepower four or five times, and Israel remains feebly silent.

    You can read on, but it doesn’t get any less depressing.

  • Shlomo Avineri in Ha’aretz wrote, “It is clear that there are a few general principles that apply to these types of negotiations, and that Israel did not observe them.”

    The government made a grave mistake when it allowed itself to follow public opinion, which treated the abducted soldiers like little Jewish boys kidnapped by Cossacks rather than soldiers in the army of the Jewish state. The government must tell the public and the families with total conviction that it will do everything in its power to free the soldiers within the boundaries of Israel’s overall interests – but not “everything.” Just as the government has the right to send soldiers into battle, and perhaps to their deaths, so too does it have the right to view the abductees’ fate in the framework of the state’s broader strategic interests.

  • A Jerusalem Post editorial focused on the contrasting images yesterday from the two sides, Israel and Lebanon:

    Hizbullah’s greatest loss, perhaps, has been its standing in the eyes of principled people everywhere, who can now see the difference between a political culture that valorizes brutality and celebrates a killer as its national conscience, and one that manages a quiet dignity even in the most trying of times.

  • Ynet’s Uri Orbach writes an open letter to the Lebanese people:

    It has been 30 years yet you still cannot distinguish between a national hero and a-child killer. For you, it’s enough that someone killed a Jew, even if it happens to be a young girl from Nahariya, in order for you to welcome him with great honor…

    With every proud display and rally for your heroes, you are being taken over the by Hizbullah gang, headed by the cannibal of bodies, Sheikh Nasrallah. The fire coming out of this bramble has been eating up Lebanon’s cedars for years now.

    Nasrallah is a man who reveals his true face even when in hiding; he is the man who also exposes your true face.

  • Israel Harel of Ha’aretz: “This was no way to fulfill our duty and bring home the boys – by letting a terrorist organization string us along, right up to the last second.” Calling the swap a “humiliating and exorbitantly expensive deal,” Harel writes that “the Shalit deal, could be – if the media keep hurtling with no brakes – much more difficult and expensive than the sad ending of the Regev and Goldwasser deal.”

    A moral society doesn’t let terrorists abuse it. A moral society doesn’t give in to immoral extortion and doesn’t pay a price that endangers the future of its soldiers and civilians, while sowing the seeds for the next abductions and ensuing concessions. A strong moral society – as we still are – teaches the kidnappers a lesson and leads them to the painful conclusion that kidnapping doesn’t pay.

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