JULY 17, 2008 – As the world is now aware, the bodies of reserve IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were returned to Israel yesterday. As Bronwen Maddox wrote in today’s The Times (UK):
This may be the last of the extravagantly lopsided prisoner swaps between Israel and Hezbollah. This one, dramatic in its asymmetry, appeared generally popular with Israelis, as prisoner swaps have tended to be… A commentator in the Jerusalem Post called the bargain struck “a very Israeli decision,” arguing that the apparent perversity reflected the intensity of Israeli society. “Everyone is near the firing line, and being near the firing line affects one’s vision,” he said.
However, not everyone was pleased with the Israeli government’s decision. Here’s what a jewishinfonews reader had to say when invited by The Canada-Israel Committee to add his name to a condolence book being prepared for the Regev and Goldwasser families:
I wouldn’t sign this condolence book, and the families, especially the Goldwassers, and the whole Israeli government, make me sick. Trading Kuntar for two dead bodies, letting Hezbollah get away with the whole game of not revealing whether they were alive or dead, and finally, the worst thing of all, for the [Israeli] government to humiliate the whole country, for the first time in its history, and ensuring that for Shalit and for the next Israeli captives–and there will be next ones–there will be absolutely no incentive to keep them alive–I’m deeply ashamed of, and for, the whole lot of them. And not even to get Ron Arad’s body thrown into the package. I think that Goldwasser and Regev themselves, if they’d been asked before they were captured, if they wanted Kuntar and the others, alive, traded for their dead bodies would have been appalled, and this has dishonoured them–their names will always be associated with the most shameful and humiliating thing Israel has ever, and possibly will ever, do. The condolence book to be signed should be for the families of the father and little girl murdered by Kuntar, and the family of Ron Arad, and for Shalit’s family as well.
Isn’t it amazing that, in the end, Goldwasser and Regev gave their lives so that their bodies could be used to set Samir Kuntar free? And to further endanger the lives of Gilad Shalit, and of every Israeli soldier who’ll be captured in the next hostilities? Can anyone believe that that’s what they would have wanted, in order to get their bodies returned?