Before the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, the three Israeli teens abducted and murdered in Judea in mid-June, were discovered, I was asked to write about a hypothetical ransom deal under which Israel would release a boatload of convicted terrorists in exchange for the release of the trio. As a few years back I had argued on these pages against paying an exorbitant ransom for Gilad Shalit, this essentially would have been an exercise in repetition. Either the editor forgot the previous piece or perhaps wondered if the identity of the victims would prompt a reevaluation.

Our rabbis warn us not to judge your friend until you have been in his position. This time the abductees were religious Zionists; two were studying at the yeshiva high school from which my son had graduated and whose headmaster, Rabbi Dov Zinger, I have been fortunate to count as a friend and neighbor for 32 years. Would religious Zionists under these circumstances have succumbed to the rationalization that trading three captives for 1,000 terrorists somehow represents a victory for Israeli morality rather than a triumph for the enemy?

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