Hamas and Hizballah launch raids into Israel, kill soldiers, and take three hostages. Israel caught with its knickers down, launched retaliatory raids to try to release them, and started a major war in the north, scores dead and wounded, and where are the boys? What is Israel doing about the boys? Can one imagine that GWB would let three American soldiers languish in Hamastan or Hizballahstan? What the public outcry would be in America?

Today it is reported that Israel will free 1000 prisoners for the release of Shalit, held in Hamastan. Seems that that will encourage more such attacks, but it does save Shalit’s life. And that seems to be inline with the mitzvah of pidyon shevuim. Olmert backtracks today on his statement that he stopped the war because they were not sure if the soldiers in Lebanon were alive. Most likely Israel knew that when they were kidnapped, so why the smokescreen?

If they are alive, Israeli petitions to the Red Cross for access should be incessant, loud and publicized. If they are dead, why did they invade? The mitzvah of pidyon shevuim did and does not justify military invasion.

Olmert, just do the right thing and go into early retirement. Please.

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Rabbi Yonah


  • You see the issue is Rabbi, that we seem to think, we in the west that is, that we are better, that the arabs side. We don’t seem to get that they are the winners.

    When we start to understand this, then we will act as losers do, and blow ourselves and our cars up amidst their women and children.

    Start to think like a loser, because we are.

  • Errr, Rabbi, you may have noticed that that sticking around plan hasn’t exactly worked out so well for them…even the Republicans are admitting that now.

  • Rabbi, does the mitzvah of pidyun shvuim dictate to free a hostage at all costs?

    We already know that past ‘hostage’ exchanges have set future murders free, and frankly, we know that they keep taking us hostage because it works time after time – doesn’t everyone see that already?

  • Rabbi, not to cross-post comment here, but where’s the UN resolution outrage the three hostages?

  • Rabbi,

    Sure, US forces are still in Iraq, but to your point, what are they doing about Specialist Maupin? And the American outcry? Most Americans don’t know who he is, let alone being “up in arms”.

    Personally, I’m not satisfied with the Israeli governments efforts on Israeli POWs (including Arad and the boys captured at the Sultan Yacub in the early 80s), but I would not negatively compare it with the efforts of other governments on behalf of their POW/MIAs.

    To your last point: the mitzvah of pidyon shevuim not justifying the war.

    Israel is not a theocracy/halachic state last time I checked. The war was justified by an attack across an internationally recoginized border which, as you may recall, went beyond the prisoner snatch. The northern communities the legnth of the border were rocketed/shelled from Lebanon _while_ the three soldiers were being captured. Heck, Hizbullah had even tried an infantry assault on Metullah (see the Aug 13 entry at ).

    Now, the perhaps one may debate the proportionality of Israel’s response, but I don’t think that you have a leg to stand on when it comes to international law (which is the law that Israel has to adhere to in these matters, not halacha). It was attacked from across a border by a hostile force without provocation. It had the right to respond in like manner in self defense.