After five years of being kept as a hostage by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has returned to Israel today. In return, Israel is releasing over a thousand prisoners requested by Hamas (nearly five hundred released today) including many who committed murders and were involved in bombings.
It makes no sense, of-course. Aside from the absurd imbalance in swapping all of these convicted terrorists for one Israeli soldier who has not been accused of any crime, there is the obvious point that this only encourages Israel’s enemies to attempt to kidnap soldiers again in the future, knowing the enormous potential reward they can obtain through this tactic.
However, putting aside all of those arguments, I think that the overwhelming lesson of this is the one to be found in the dramatic contrast. On the one hand, we see people who have put explosives on their own children, or the children of their neighbors, and sent them to blow themselves up, happy so long as they kill some Jews at the same time. These are the same people, it must be said, now dancing and celebrating the release of convicted murderers. And on the other hand, we see people willing to put aside or swallow incalculable bitterness towards these kinds of murderers, in order that the life of one of their neighbor’s children—Gilad Shalit—might be saved; likewise a people willing to take on the risks entailed in releasing so many dangerous individuals, because such is the value they place on one single life.
And all of this comes at a time when virtually the entire world is lining up in support of the former culture and not the latter, in the United Nations and elsewhere. That is truly the incongruity to end all incongruities.