What Will Israel Do The Next Time A Soldier Is Kidnapped?


idfBy Yaakov Katz

Gilad Shalit has returned home and Israel has once again proved that it is different from the rest of the countries that surround it in the Middle East.

On the one hand, there is no question that for Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel’s decision to release 1,027 convicted terrorists will motivate them to try and kidnap more Israeli soldiers in the future. Some in Israel are calling this move national suicide.

The fact that 450 of the terrorists are responsible for the deaths – directly and indirectly – of over 500 Israelis, just adds to the encouragement.

On the other hand, the exchange of so many prisoners for just one Israeli soldier can also be hailed as the exact difference between Israel and its enemies.

While its enemies praise death, Israel sanctifies life, and for that reason it is willing to pay such a heavy price to retrieve one Israeli soldier and bring him home to his family after more than five years in captivity.

Tomorrow, the day after Schalit has been released, will be possibly the most difficult.

While it will take the media some time to back off from the story – Schalit will likely be hounded by photographers wherever he goes – the focus will shift, either back to the social protests, that until recently were at the top of the papers, or to the next crisis in waiting.

For the IDF this will also be a time of introspection.

On the one hand, there is more than a measure of truth to the claim that by releasing Schalit, Israel sends a message throughout its military and to all of its soldiers that, as a country, it does not leave a soldier behind.

On the other hand, if tomorrow, soldiers from the Golani Brigade, or any other random unit, are sent to arrest a Palestinian terror suspect in Gaza or the West Bank they will likely wonder what the point is of risking their lives if the same man they arrest could be released in the next prisoner swap.

There is also the question of Israeli-government policy. What will it do the next time a soldier is kidnapped?

When Schalit was first abducted by Hamas in June, 2006, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert announced that Israel would not negotiate his release. This quickly changed when, as prime minister, Olmert successfully negotiated one prisoner swap with Hezbollah for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, and started the negotiations with Hamas that are to culminate in Schalit’s release on Tuesday.

The Winograd Commission, which investigated the failures of the Second Lebanon War, called on the government to set a clear policy for how it will deal with future kidnappings.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak then appointed former Supreme Court justice Meir Shamgar to issue recommendations, which have not yet been made.

Israel could potentially declare that from now on, there will be no more negotiations. The problem is that this is easier said than done, and the government will have difficulty explaining to the family of the next soldier why it is not willing to negotiate the release of their son.

There is no easy answer, but with Israeli intelligence warning of increased motivation among terrorist groups to kidnap soldiers, a clear policy is needed.

{JPost/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. A more likely scenario: Bibi did this deal in order to weaken Abbas and his UN bid for statehood. Hamas isn’t stupid. They know that Palestinian statehood will benefit them as well, even offer the opportunity to expand their presence in the West Bank.

    I’m betting that Hamas is going to grab the ball and run with it – using the released prisoners to boost their popularity at home while sitting on the released prisoners to keep them from committing more terrorist acts and messing up the bid for statehood. Look for an agreement between Hamas and Abbas in the near future – along with increased international PR activity to support statehood.

  2. They’re going to try to kidnap more Israelis anyway — this deal notwithstanding. This outcome taught them the incentive of keeping alive any captives that they may C”V be successful in capturing. The deal may be very painful, but at least we’re welcoming home a live Jewish boy and not coffins

  3. What is important for frum Yidden would be a psak by the Gedoilei Hador on such a situation. It is a very difficult she-eila and only the biggest gedoilim would be listened to. What should be done in this situation?

  4. Ss,I think gilad, now that he’s out of captivity needs to sue billions from the international red cross, not for the money, but on behalf of israel, that he wasn’t. Allowd any communication, & humanitarian aid from the outside world , when the terrorists held by israel did get that, & thae red cross didn’t do anything to let the world know about it, & that in future, red cross shouldn’t expect terrorists shouldn’t be allowed any communication, visitors, or visits from red cross, if the red cross can’t manage to do the same for israeli prisoners… & red cross won’t be able to complain, cuz they didn’t complain to world & make world aware publicly how arabs treatan israeli….

  5. I found it difficult to understand commenter #8. He seemed to be making a good point of saying that Gilad should sue the red cross for not receiving minimal visiting rights. But what he wrote after that, was very difficult to understand. Could someone clarify?

  6. Unless Israel takes ‘no prisoners’ and each terrorist with blood on their hands is immediately executed, this, chas v’sholom, will continue because the ‘supreme court’ and others in power in Israel, etc., are beyond leftist. They are the ones who have the power to give the go-ahead for everything. As most Israelis and rational thinking people feel, we’re glad that he’s back home but the price is too high and too dangerous. Now we need to rely on Hashem that HE will mete out the punishment to these murderers and protect the citizens from this folly.