Samir Kuntar is a monster. He may never have deserved a life.
It's time we let him out of prison.
Not for his sake. For ours.
For the sake of three families.
Their writers don't challenge, they provoke. Their reporters don't tantalize, they goad. And their editorials, representative of a very narrow minority opinion, shout out from their pages, pretending to be the moral compass for Israel.
In ways that cannot be counted, most of which went unnoticed by the media and the world, the one institution that got Israel through the war was the family.
The family may be the one thing Israel has ever gotten right.
It is surely the one thing that saves Israel from itself.
It may be the only thing that matters.
It was families that gave shelter, food, and support to thousands of Israelis in the north routed from their homes by Katyusha rockets. It was families that gave their soldier children, soldier spouses, soldier brothers and sisters, soldier fathers and even grandfathers, the strength to keep on, despite their betrayal by the befuddlement of their government and their generals.
Before the war began, young men from three of these families were patrolling Israel's borders, Israel's pre-1967 war borders, on Israeli soil, when gunmen from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, invaded and took them hostage.
We owe it to their families to get them back. We owe it to their brothers in arms, as well, to do everything it takes to get them back. Soldiers and their families have to know that their leaders will risk their very political careers, if need be, to pay the price to get them back.
The price will be awful. The price to families will be awful. In the case of Gilad Shalit, kidnapped on June 25, the price may be 1,000 or more Palestinian prisoners, some guilty of having tried to murder Israelis, some perhaps guilty of having succeeded. The families of Israeli victims of terrorism will fall victim to a new phase of torture.
In the case of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, abducted by Hezbollah on July 12, the price will be even worse. It will include the release of Samir Kuntar. In 1979, Kuntar led a group of gunmen on an attack in Nahariya, during which broke into an apartment and took hostage Danny Haran, 28, and his four-year-old daughter, Einat.
"I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades," Danny's wife, Smadar, wrote three years ago in an account in the Washington Post, describing in part how she hid from the terrorists with her other daughter, Yael, just two.
"I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.
"As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.
"By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her."
Samir Kuntar is our hostage.
Samir Kuntar is our hostage.
Samir Kuntar is our hostage.
Samir Kuntar is our hostage. His release will do great injury to all those who loved and love Danny and Einat Haran. But it's time that he be released.
It's a moral issue pitting families against families. But we cannot ignore the families of the living, and of the living themselves.
Last week, in response to the direct appeals of the families of Gilad, Ehud, and Eldad, Israelis by the tens of thousands flooded the heart of Tel Aviv to appeal to the Ehud Olmert to do everything he could to secure their release.
There had never been a demonstration like it. The rally brought together the activist right and left, the solid center, the secular hip, the settler religious, the haredi, the elderly, the newborn in a sling, the Shenkenite, the professor, the frecha, the arss.
Wait, you may say -- but this Op-Ed piece agrees that Kuntar is a monster....he just needs to be released to secure the freedom of our soldiers...
In the end, it will be pressure from families, from Palestinian families, from Lebanese families, from Syrian families, from Israelis families, that will turn the tide in favor of peace in this region.
This is our fate, our curse, and, perhaps, our only hope: The structures of Israel, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority may bear the trappings of modern government, but they remain fundamentally tribal societies.
So that's it in a nutshell. We are all families...and that is our hope for peace.
The families of Palestinian terrorists, Lebanese terrorists, and Syrian terrorists are all "families", just like the families of kidnapped IDF soldiers.
The terrorists who teach their children to hate, to blow themselves up, to wish for jihad against the Jews...Haaretz equates those families with the parents of IDF soldiers.
Haaretz makes a mockery of justice and advocates the adage that crime pays.
Golda Meir was wrong; She said, "There will only be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us."
What she meant to say was, "There will only be peace in Israel when we love our soldiers and civilians more than we love the enemy." **
** From Zeev Galili in Makor Rishon this past weekened.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael