Sir, – Many have expressed their opinion that the price for bringing home Gilad
Schalit was too high.
Who can disagree? But if something had happened to
Schalit, would this be more satisfying? Are there justifiable solutions or clear
paths out of difficult circumstances?
Sir, – Why did we wait
five years before canceling the excessive benefits bestowed upon terrorist
prisoners? Had we done so immediately after the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit, who
was not extended even basic, elementary considerations, he might have returned
to us much sooner and at a lower price.MILTON J. KRAMER
The Kinneret has a red line to mark the water level below which it is considered
Then, when the water drops below that line, no problem: The
line is simply lowered.
This policy of moving red lines has now been
adopted in the diplomatic sphere. We have seen it in the release of prisoners
with blood on their hands and I fear we will see it again in the peace
Sir, – No longer must Israel endure
unfair world criticism about its disproportionate responses to acts of terror.
The Arabs themselves determined the value of the lives of their people: 1,027
Arabs equal one Jew.
In the future we should follow this formula. The
world will surely honor us for being good neighbors.
LEAH LIPMAN ZEIGER
Sir, – I opposed the Schalit deal from the start because of its
excessive cost. Nevertheless, I cried in joy when I saw the first film clip of
Gilad on Egyptian soil. At that point it was clear that he was coming
But this sort of deal in not sustainable.
I suggest that the
Knesset adopt the following as law: 1. Future exchange will be on a one-to-one
basis. If need be the ratio can be increased by the government but cannot exceed
10 prisoners for one hostage.
2. For a prisoner to be released he or she
must have served at least 50 percent of the sentence.
Those sentenced to
life terms are ineligible.
3. The prisoner must sign a statement that if
arrested again for terrorism he or she will also be tried for violating the
release agreement. The combined punishment might include the death
4. To override any of the aforementioned points, 80% of all
members of Knesset (96 MKs) must vote in favor.
The moment our enemies
see that we cannot be coerced into a one-sided deal, their incentive to take
hostages will be reduced.
Sir, – A proposal:
Declare the fifth day of the intermediate days of Succot “Yom Pidyon Shvuyim”
(POW Redemption Day). Whether with joy or sadness or a combination of both, it
would be an opportunity to reflect and remember that the people of Israel must
be united and stand strong.
Sir, – Relief and
joy in the Schalit family is understandable, but there can be no doubt that the
unrestrained glee of so many other people, fed by the tasteless and endless
media frenzy of special reports and talking heads, trampled on the dignity and
feelings of thousands whose loved ones, including children, will never return,
having been murdered by the monsters set free.
Judaism does not sanction
the saving of a life by the sacrifice of another, and it is a statistical
certainty that others will die so that Gilad Schalit can continue his
Surely it would have been more sensitive and far wiser to restrain
the expressions of unbridled emotions and allow this unholy swap to happen
quietly, far from the cameras and spotlights, without the endless stream of
interviews, programs, articles, analyses, arguments and polemics.
other hand, some of the reactions by the families of terror victims have also
been characterized by hysteria. It does the memory of the fallen no service to
declare that the country places no value on them or that the country is dancing
“on their blood.”
I call for citizens, leaders and the media to rethink
their modes of expression and allow good sense and cool reason to trump rampant
emotion in future such instances, for they will surely come.
Sir, – There is some merit (perhaps a lot) in what Jonathan
Rosen has to say (“Time to institute the death penalty for terrorists,” Comment
& Features, October 19).
If I had my way I would certainly add to the
list one who murdered a prime minister and sits in prison receiving all kinds of
benefits (such as being allowed conjugal visits, thus fathering a child). To my
mind, this person is just as much a terrorist and should be dealt with in the
Sir, – I wish to thank Sherri
Mandell for her beautifully written “A mother’s pain” (Comment & Features,
She and other terror victims are not the only ones who were
against the prisoner exchange for Gilad Schalit! I know I am.
thoughts mirror my own sentiments exactly.
I resent the accusation that
those of us who oppose the deal don’t care about Gilad Schalit and his
long-suffering family. This is a lie and completely unfair. But we recognize the
value of every other person’s life, which has been immeasurably cheapened by the
release of these unrepentant murderous terrorists.
Sir, – The Second Book of Samuel, 7:23, tells us: “Who is like you
Israel, a unique people on earth.”
These words came to mind when I read
Esther Wachsman’s reaction upon hearing that Gilad Schalit would be released:
“....all we wanted to do was to get to the tent and to embrace Noam and Aviva
and to rejoice with them. I had no mixed feelings then, only relief and joy that
Gilad would be coming home. A mother was to get her precious son back from hell”
(“A mother’s prayers,” Comment & Features, October 18).
amazing woman. I am so proud to count myself as an Israeli whose country
continues to serve as a light unto the nations.
Sir, – Gilad Schalit is in Israel.
We have done the
This is Israel’s strongest and finest hour.
is still one voice of despair, a cry for help we must respond to immediately. It
is of Oudah Tarabin, who has been held in Egypt for 11 years on trumped-up
charges of spying for Israel (“‘Al-Ahram’: Grapel to be released in exchange for
all 81 Egyptians being held in prisons in Israel,” October 17).
father believes that if anti-Israel elements rise to power in Egypt he will not
be seen again.
If we do not demand his return with that of Ilan Grapel,
we will fall short of our duty to protect every Israeli civilian. And that is
GIDEON BEN YACOV
Sir, – Congratulations to the State
of Israel for overcoming gigantic obstacles to finally secure the release of
Gilad Schalit. Perhaps now it can focus on obtaining the freedom of another
long-imprisoned Israeli: Jonathan Pollard.
Israel should try its utmost
to get US President Barack Obama to do the honorable and humanitarian thing and
use his powers of executive clemency to either pardon Pollard or commute his
life sentence to time already served, and release him into Israel’s