Explaining the Prisoner Exchange

[ Jerusalem Post] Herb Keinon - Much of what makes Israel unique and different needs to be understood to explain the grisly prisoner exchange that took place on Wednesday. Israel freed a child-murderer and four prisoners of war, along with nearly 200 bodies of assorted terrorists and infiltrators, for coffins bearing the remains of two IDF reservists. No other country in the world would have made such a deal. But no other country in the world bears the scars that Israel does, nor the almost absolute knowledge that there will be other wars to fight in this generation, and that people we all know will be called upon to do the fighting. It is in the preparations for the next confrontation with Hizbullah that the swap comes into play. Each soldier must know that when he goes into battle, the country will do everything, but everything, in its power to bring him back home if something untoward occurs. This explains why IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi was such a fierce advocate of the deal, even though he - more than anyone else - knows the risk this may pose for future soldiers. Israel's ethos of never leaving a soldier behind also comes, to a great degree, from a sense of communal obligation following the Holocaust - a feeling that whenever Jews are in danger, everything, but everything, must be done to try to save them, if only because so little was done back then.

2008-07-17 01:00:00

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