Redeeming the Soldiers: Surrender to Terror?

Meir Indor

Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor was wounded in a terror attack and is the head of the Almagor terror victims group

Redeeming the Soldiers: Surrender to Terror?

Is the fear of more abductions stronger than the mitzvah to redeem our soldiers? Does one family’s concern justify the pain of others?



The numbers speak for themselves: 80 percent of security prisoners released return to terror activities. 14 suicide attacks have been carried out by terrorists released by Israel.

Two men who murdered a Jewish translator who believed in peace and was working in eastern Jerusalem were released in the 1985 Jibril deal. 1,160 terrorists were released in that deal, including master terrorist Kozo Okamoto.

Joska Grup’s mother got her son back, as did four other families of Israeli POWs, after an aggressive media campaign on all channels and at all levels – and hundreds of people paid for it with their lives and health when those terrorists planned the first intifada and formed the foundation of the terrorist organizations that have gained strength since the Oslo accords were signed.

Spider’s Web

When Nasrallah said Israel was fragile as a spider’s web, he meant, amongst other things, that Israel has no judge and no jury. Terrorists are routinely released, and a mother’s voice changes the entire national agenda. Is this really in our best interest?

Since Elhanan Tanenbaum was released, kidnappings have increased, and since the bodies of Beni Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawaed were returned in exchange for terrorists the bodies have become part of Lebanese commerce.

As soon as the exchange with Nasrallah was completed, he started talking about the next kidnapping. The writing was on the wall even before the exchange was carried out, but they told us – injured and bereaved victims of terror – “who can look the parents of kidnapped soldiers in the eyes?”

Look into Their Eyes

Now the time has come to ask ourselves: And who will look in the eyes of the families of the next kidnapped soldiers? Who will look into the eyes of people walking in the streets, whose names we still do not know, but will be the next targets of kidnappings and terror attacks?

Who will look into the eyes of murder victims when their loved ones’ murderers are released en masse, flashing the “v” for victory, smiling and hugging their families, while their loved ones are six feet under?

Seeking Justice

Even modern legislators understand that in order to rehabilitate victims, justice must be seen to be done. They have recognized this in the “Terror Victims Law” which grants victims the possibility to testify before the court about sentencing, and to follow the course of action.

It is clear today that part of the emotional rehabilitation for victims is the desire to see the people who hurt them serve their sentences.
The Torah, too, provides for allowing families to demand full punishment for those who hurt their loved ones.

The call for justice is found in the book of Numbers: “Don’t soak the earth with blood.” This means the earth cannot take the spilling of innocent blood, and society must punish offenders. Society cannot tolerate the early release of murderers, even if they are rich enough to pay for the privilege.

Therefore, it is inconceivable that Israeli society would release terrorists on account of the violent actions of other terrorists. Even if they are Arab.

Once upon a Time…

Once upon a time, things were different. Prof. Yuval Neeman told me that when he was deputy chief of Israeli intelligence there were Israeli captives in enemy hands. He refused to meet with parents of the hostages in order to not be persuaded by emotions.

It took time, but the hostages were eventually released, without bowing to pressures, and after Israel carried out kidnappings in response.

Another story: In the 13th century, the leader of European Jewry, known as the Maharam of Rottenberg, was kidnapped, and his holders demanded a massive ransom.

The Jewish community raised the money, but the rabbi ordered them not to pay the ransom, knowing the move would encourage further kidnappings. He died in jail, and the story goes that he even ordered the community not to ransom his body.

The rabbi placed a price tag on the mitzvah of redeeming captives and said not to go overboard. It is an ancient Talmudic principle enacted when kidnappings were on the rise.

Now, at a time when parents are sending their children to fight, a fight they could possibly die in or be seriously wounded by terrorists, we would be insane to release even more terrorists.

Who would dare send their children into battle after such a move, when hundreds of additional terrorists captured with great effort are released to save their terrorist organizations?