Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Shalit Schizophrenia

Not everyone is glad that a deal to free Gilad Shalit has been negotiated:

Terror victims’ kin protests Shalit deal by defacing Rabin memorial
October 16, 2011
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A man whose family was killed in a terror attack defaced the memorial in Tel Aviv to assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in protest of the Shalit prisoner swap.

Shvuel Schijveschuurder, 27, whose parents and three siblings were killed in the 2001 terror attack at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, attacked the memorial Oct. 13 to protest the Israeli government's decision to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in a swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Two of the prisoners listed among those to be released were involved in the Sbarro attack.

Schijveschuurder was was ordered to stay out of Tel Aviv for 15 days after being questioned by Tel Aviv police and released Friday.

He had spray-painted the words "price tag" and "release Yigal Amir," Rabin's assassin, on the memorial.

Some 450 of the Palestinian prisoners to be swapped for Shalit are scheduled to be released Tuesday, the same day that Shalit is to be released. 

My view is more complicated than that of the graffiti artist. Tribal/nationalist DovBear is thrilled the young soldier is coming home, and would enthusiastically raise his middle finger in the direction of any one who disagrees. Halacha-keeping Dovbear wonders if the sages of old would have endorsed Netanyahu's deal, while progressive Dovbear asks if it matters. Pragmatic DovBear worries that kidnapper/terrorists have only been encouraged to try again. Should it turn out that Halacha does frown on the paying of exorbitant ransoms, Dovbear the amateur anthropologist waits to see how the traditionalists will react: Will they condemn the Israel government for breaking Jewish law, or will they look the other way, and accept the fruit of the forbidden tree?


Happy as I am that Shalit is coming home, I do wonder what the rabbinic responsa says about paying exorbitant ransoms. I seem to recall that someone of stature frowned on it. His not unsound logic, iirc, was that paying huge ransoms to secure the release of kidnapped Jews would serve only to encourage kidnappers to try again, thereby endangering other Jews. I had planned to search for the source over yom tov, but instead I ate, drank and slept too much. Anyway, searching for sources is such a burden without Google. I'll see what I can find this afternoon.

A question: If we can establish that the sages of old forbade the making of deals such as the one arranged by the Israeli government on behalf of Gilad Shalit, what then? Do we care? Why or why not?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Israel is a secular state