PM: My heart goes out to the families

Olmert offers condolences to Goldwasser, Regev families, says day proves Israel's moral power.

Olmert times two 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert times two 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hours after the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were transferred to Israel in a dramatic prisoner swap with Hizbullah which saw the release of convicted killer Samir Kuntar, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the deal, and offered his condolences to the families of the reservists. "With all of Israel, I embrace and hug the families of Regev and Goldwasser in mourning," Olmert said in published statement. "My throat is dry, my eyes are tearing, and my heart goes out to the families that struggled without a sign [of life], and didn't lose hope until the very last moment," he continued. "This is a day of removal of doubt. Certainly with regards to the fate of Udi and Eldad, may their memories be blessed, but also regarding the moral and ethical power of Israel." "By virtue of this power we decided to return the boys, even with the heavy price of releasing a despicable murderer," the prime minister said. "Nobody else will understand what every Israeli understands well: the worry over the fate of every one of our soldiers is the glue which binds us as a society, and it this which allows us to survive in an area which is surrounded by enemies and terror organizations." "The joys of a nation are indicative of its value-system," Olmert added. "Woe is the nation that celebrates at this hour the release of an animal that crushed the skull of an infant." "My heart, on this day is with the Goldwasser and Regev families," the statement concluded. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni echoed Olmert's comments in a statement of her own, in which she praised the deal as proof of the strength of Israel. "This nation especially, which feels pain for every soldier who doesn't return, is able to feel more at peace today, because the uncertainty was removed," Livni said at a conference in the Foreign Ministry. "The power of a nation is not dependent on what the other side says, but rather only on us." "There is no meaning in my eyes, what those whose heroes smash skulls and murder babies say," she continued. "We are speaking of our values - our heroes fought for our existence, and go out to battle reinforced with the knowledge that they are protecting life, not just a country, and they are ready to pay a price in order to execute the values that we all share."