The Good vs. the Horrible

An Israeli soldier is kidnapped from Israeli territory and held hostage for 5 years. Read what they did below to get him home. It would be very difficult to find any example that compares and contrasts the “Palestinian” ethos vs. the Israeli ethos than this: (from today’s Wall Street Journal)

Israel’s Unequal Exchange

The line between moral values and moral hazard can be thin.

Israel has a long history of unequal prisoner exchanges. Since 1982, it has released thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a handful of Israeli soldiers and civilians, some of them living, others already dead. Last week, it agreed to release more than a 1,000 Palestinians, many of them serving life sentences for murder, in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who has been held hostage in Gaza since June 2006.

The Jewish state’s repeated willingness to pay an exorbitant price for its citizens is a testament to its national and religious values, which stress the obligation to redeem captives. There’s an instructive contrast in that, for anyone who cares to notice it, with the ethics of Hamas, which refused to grant the Red Cross permission to so much as visit Sgt. Shalit. There’s a contrast, too, with the ethics of those Palestinians now cheering the release of “brothers” imprisoned for committing such acts as a 1989 bus bombing that killed 10 Israelis and the 2001 bombing of a Jerusalem pizzeria.

But virtues often have their defects, and the line between moral values and moral hazard can be a thin one. The negotiations to return Sgt. Shalit dragged on as long as they did largely because Hamas had reason to believe it could drive the hardest possible bargain. The same logic explains why Israelis will continue to be tempting targets for hostage taking.

Sooner or later, Israel will learn the name of its next Gilad Shalit. Sooner or later, too, it will learn that the better course is to give its enemies reasons to think twice before taking hostages in the first place.

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5 Responses to The Good vs. the Horrible

  1. Gene Josephs says:

    Part of the Jewish culture and religion is the belief that
    “to save one life is to save mankind” and that is why
    the Jews of Israel will do agree to do this trade.
    Unfortunately, the Muslims this well.
    Gene Josephs.

    • Teddy says:

      Gene i feel like you are ascribing some kind of moral superiority to Judaism. Jews have killed a great number of people in this conflict, as well as in their religious texts, and they literally stole their country from these Muslims because of its allotment to them, the chosen race, in the Hebrew Bible.

      Dan, I must say i agree with you! This was a horrible decision. Also what a great way to incentivize more kidnapping, not to mention how many Israelis are now going to die because of this terrorist deluge. Maybe some protestors or disobedients could have been released, but some of these Palestinians should never have been let go.

      This also gives more credit to bibi and more credit to Hamas in their respective countries. Both should be deflated if we are going to get close to some peace agreement. Sadly they have both been bolstered and now that this ransom system is in place, I imagine it will happen all over again.

      • vofreason says:

        An interesting response to Gene’s. He is stating a fact, that “part of the Jewish culture and religion is the belief that ‘to save one life is to save mankind'”. This is a part of Judaism’s principles, and teachings. Only the most cynical view of this would be to say he is ascribing moral superiority to Jews. And to be even more cynical, to look at the Jewish people and say “they have killed a great number of people in this conflict”, with no acknowledgement that most of this has been in response to deadly threats and deadly attacks (thousands of rockets fired on civilian towns, families murdered in the night including cutting the throat of a 3-month old followed by huge parties in Gaza, bombs in pizza parlors and at weddings) is one very distorted view of the Jewish people in Israel.

        I am uncomfortable with the decision, but to completely understand it and judge it I suppose I would have to see how application of the principle plays itself out throughout Jewish culture and the good things that may come from it.

        Lastly, it boggles my mind that there are people who seem to ascribe equal guilt between the Palestinians (whoever they are) and the Israelis regarding the peace process. All evidence points to the fact that too many Palestinians believe Israel should be wiped off the map for them to ever agree to a peace deal. The Israeli’s have over and over again made proposals that met previous demands of the PLO and PLA, and the Palestinian side can never agree to a deal– because too many of them think Jews are sub-human and not worthy of life. The difference is so clear. How is it that people can miss this? How can something so simple and obvious be missed by millions of people?

  2. Teddy says:

    boo hoo! I’m not being cynical and even if I was it doesn’t make my point any less valid. Your ad hominem attacks don’t lend your arguments much credibility, or discredit mine.

    Some food for thought: From Al-Ma’ida, the fifth book of Qu’ran:
    “If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind”

    • vofreason says:

      That food for thought leaves me starving : ) I don’t understand what the Qu’ran quote has to do with what we are discussing except that the words sound similar to that of Jewish teachings. It would be nice if the many thousands of radical muslims would observe this principle rather than violating it with passion, killing innocents by the thousands, creating havoc in countries all over the world, and trampling on the rights of women. Not all muslims of course, not a majority, but way too many. This just gives more credit to the Israeli’s who have a principle by which they live.

      To be succinct: Gene did not say Jews were morally superior (though its arguable that they are in my view). Too many people look at 1+1 and get 3, in that they can somehow rationalize outrageous behavior by Palestinians and condemn totally rational behavior by the Israeli’s. Lastly, I don’t believe the PLO/PLA will ever be able to agree to any reasonable peace deal because too many of them want Jews dead, and Israel wiped off the map.

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