I have always been fascinated by the timeless parable of the scorpion and the
frog. It’s a short yet powerful warning about the often immutable nature
of certain beings. In this case, the deadly and incontrovertible nature
As the story goes, a scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a
body of water, since the scorpion cannot swim. The frog then rightly asserts
that doing so would put its life at great risk, as the scorpion is known to
lethally sting other creatures, sometimes without provocation.
the frog’s argument, the scorpion insists that by stinging it, both of them
would drown – therefore, logic would dictate that harming the frog would be
definitively self-damaging and counterintuitive.
Satisfied with the
scorpion’s reasoning, the frog agrees to the tenuous proposition.
two reach the mid-point of their journey across the water, the scorpion reneges
on its promise, and indeed stings the trusting frog, resulting in their mutual
After the scorpion injects the frog with its venom, the frog asks
The scorpion famously replies: “Because it’s my
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THE POWER of this story lies in its truism that certain
behaviors are as inherent as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west
– and no matter what people say, how well they are treated, or how illogical,
barbarous or self-defeating their behavior is, ultimately they will do what
comes naturally. Consequences be damned.
I bring up this allegory because
it is more than fitting to describe the consequences of releasing the hundreds
of murderers and their accomplices from Israeli prisons in last week’s historic
1,027:1 Gilad Schalit prisoner swap.
While I fully support Gilad, and our
government for ensuring his release, I also fully recognize the gravity of
letting deadly animals out of their cages.
As a former police and
criminal courts newspaper reporter in America, I have covered more than my fair
share of heinous murders and assaults that left indelible – and often unhealed –
scars on families for the remainder of their lives.
Indeed, I have been
at fresh murder scenes, seen the blood of the victims, and their corpses, and
then watched, sometimes for months on end, the trials of their accused
AMID THE spectrum of human misery that I witnessed in the
courthouse at which I worked, there was no pain I have ever seen that can match
the pain in the eyes of the parents who attended the murder trial of their
To this day I remain haunted by their
Furthermore, I have watched convicted murderers show complete
apathy – even contempt – during their own trials, and not wipe the filthy smirk
off their faces even when the mothers and fathers of their victims tearfully
read an impact statement before them about how these perpetrators’ deeds
destroyed multiple lives.
In short, I have seen pure evil.
said, if any one of these men were to be released from their richly deserved –
and necessary – prison sentences, I cannot begin to fathom the degree of rage,
pain and insult-to-injury that these families would experience.
put last week’s Palestinian prisoner release in perspective, if we were to
multiply the aforementioned pain by 1,027, we’re merely in the ballpark of the
rage seething in this country right now. To be sure, it’s hotter than the
surface of the sun.
And rightly so.
AS A child I was exposed to the
far-reaching aftermath of murder, having spent countless hours with my maternal
grandparents, who survived the massacre of their beloved families and closest
My grandmother, Carola, was orphaned when her parents, Bella and
Joshua, were killed by Nazis. As if that were not enough, she then lost her
three siblings, Herman, Adek and Stephanie.
Meanwhile, my grandfather
Henek’s father, Nathan, and younger brother, Arthur, were murdered, not to
mention his extended family.
Hearing their stories always broke my heart and made me feel helpless and angry – and I am two generations
removed from their
To this day, the only solace I ever found in dealing with my
emotions regarding my family’s slaughter was in the brilliant “Serenity Prayer,”
written by Reinhold Niebuhr. It states:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the
things I cannot change.
“Courage to change the things I can.
the wisdom to know the difference.”
However, when I was a boy, I
daydreamed about being a Nazi-hunter to avenge the dozens of murders in my
family. To me, men like Simon Wiesenthal had answered the highest of callings,
and I wanted to be by his side.
Sadly, I have no doubt that a new
generation of Israelis will have similar daydreams of reprisal for the murderers
of their families, released last week.
I cannot blame them.
UNREPENTANT convicted killers – who were feted with a hero’s welcome by their
adoring countrymen, and no doubt plan once again to pursue their depraved notion
of “martyrdom” – would be wise to note the Talmud’s doctrine of the use of
preemptive, lethal force.
The Talmud teaches: “If someone comes to kill
you, arise and kill him first.”
That said, here’s some fair warning for
our would-be recidivist attackers: We will come after you with a controlled
force and efficiency you cannot begin to imagine before you harm another hair on
the head of one more of our children, women and men.
between you and us is that while you praise your God when you attempt to murder
us, our soldiers will beg for God’s mercy when they wipe you off the face of the
IN ALL practicality, the question now is not if
terrorists will return to their nature, but when
We don’t have time to explain the cold realities of dealing with tens of thousands of rabid
scorpions to the millions of naïve men and women in the international community
– the vast majority of whom have never experienced an iota of the pain Israelis
continue to face so bravely after being stung, time and again.
know all too well, the only way to defeat scorpions like Hamas is to do what
Jews do best: Adapt, and become a better, more powerful scorpion.
this as efficiently and expeditiously as possible, we must put our collective
differences aside regarding the absurd incongruity of the swap, and galvanize
our energies like never before – intellectually, emotionally and physically – to
destroy our would-be murderers before they sting again, as they most assuredly
will try to do.
In this case, world opinion – which has the luxury of
ignorance to believe that scorpions can change their nature – be
Just ask the frog how that turns out.
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