They had absolutely no obligation to go there even if it was to save the lives of others… which it wasn't. They placed themselves at risk… and paid dearly for it. It cannot be ignored that had they heeded Halacha and not gone into a Makom Sakana, a dangerous place they would still be alive today. This Halacha seems to have been lost on the Religious Zionist rabbis who praised these two hikers for having the 'courage' to hike in dangerous territory. Instead of conveying a message of how dangerous it was to go hiking there they are adding to their image as martyrs.
He also writes in the comments section;
I also don't think my understanding of the Arab/Muslim mindset is all that different from that of the most militant religious Zionist. I know what Muslim/Arabs are thinking. It is pretty much the same as what Ahmadinijad thinks. Which is why taking a hike in an unsecured and open area like these two soldiers did was wrong.
Going for a hike in Eretz Yisrael, with 2 soldiers in elite units (Shaldag [IAF] and Shayetet 13 [Navy]) in an area they knew inside out, is far from irresponsible.
Instead of placing the blame on the terrorists (Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad), those who send and incite them (Palestinian Authority), those that release terrorists and give them weapons and ammunition (Olmert & co.), and those who offer political support to their cause (Bush and Rice) -- of all the people possible, R' Maryles has chosen...to blame the Jewish victims.
Outside of Hashem's Divine Providence, Israel exists today because of the combined efforts of Settlement and the Army. Since the establishment of Modern Israel over 100 years ago, it was Jews moving to all parts of Eretz Yisrael and LIVING there, that enabled the founding and continued existence of the State. From Eilat to Ramat HaGolan, from Hevron to Gav HaHar, it is the Jewish presence that keeps the army vigilant. Were it not for the Jewish community in Hevron -- Mearat HaMachpela would look very similar to Kever Yosef (and entrance would be just as difficult).
R' Maryles used to "cheer" on the settlers;
The truth is that I admire the courage of your convictions... and those of others like you. I used to be the first one to cheer West Bank settlers on. But as time has gone on, there have been too many deaths of innocent people who have made these kinds of courageous choices. One must begin to ask their whether their courage is misplaced and causing too many innocent people to die…
R' Maryles bemaons hearing
Sherri Mandells agonizing over the loss of a 13 year old son. Can anyone who hasn't experienced what she has possibly begin to understand her sacrifice? Was her sacrifice ultimately so necessary?!"
Kobi Mandel was a 13 year old who went to explore the caves in the backyard of his settlement, Tekoa. A group of Palestinian teenagers stoned to death Kobi and his friend. Kobi's crime? A Jewish teenager exploring a cave. Why is R' Maryles blaming Kobi...or his parents?
R' Maryles is apparently tired. We are not. We will continue building the land, touring the land, and securing the land for ourselves and for all of Am Yisrael, including R' Maryles.
The big danger is getting tired. Ehud Olmert stated "We are tired of winning [against the Arabs]" -- and has started a downward spiral of capitulation which will lead nowhere, but G-d forbid, the destruction of the Jewish rebirth in Eretz Yisrael.
In the Torah, parashat Ki-Tezeh, Moshe admonishes the Children of Israel -- the reason they were attacked by Amalek is because, "זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק בדרך בצאתכם ממצרים, אשר קרך בדרך, ויזנב בך כל הנחשלים אחריך, ואתה עייף ויגע, ולא ירא אלוקים". The Children of Israel were tired and weary.
Capitulation, throwing Jews out of their homes, giving away land to the enemy (let alone guns and ammunition) is the last thing we need.
Please see this wonderful video of R' Aharon Soloveitchik zt'l -- what he thought of the settlers in Hevron.
hat-tip, Aron Feldman @ Harry Maryles Blog via Tzvi Harris
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael