As the Jewish Nation across the world eagerly awaits the returns of 50 mothers and children held in captivity, Jews are fiercely debating the morality of the hostage deal. As Chassidim we turn to the Rebbe for guidance.
By Anash.org staff
Early Wednesday morning, the Israeli government approved a deal for the release of a tens of Israeli hostages kidnapped by Hamas on Simchas Torah in exchange for 150 Palestinian terrorists and a 4 day ceasefire.
The Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisroel and across the world eagerly await the returns of 50 mothers and children held in captivity in Gaza. But the bittersweet deal is not without fierce debate about the morality of such a hostage agreement.
Proponents of the deal see it as a one time chance to secure the release of the most vulnerable hostages, mainly mothers and children. They say it will free them up to fight the war more affectively if the children are out of the way.
Critics of the deal see the agreement as giving Hamas a lifeline which will allow them to regroup and fight another day. Even worse is releasing convicted terrorists who will likely go on to recommit acts of terror.
Opponents look no further than the last hostage deal Israel made with Hamas in 2011 for the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was exchanged for over 1,000 Palestinian terrorists including Yahya Sinwar, the mastermind of the Simchas Torah massacre.
As Chassidim we naturally turn to the Rebbe for guidance in times of uncertainty.
In 5739, the Rebbe strongly protested a prisoner swap when over 70 Arabs prisoners – including over 30 convicted terrorists – were exchanged for one Israeli soldier Avraham Amram, when not long before, America and Russia had swapped five for two! Though a Jewish life has infinite worth, the Rebbe explained, they could have obtained the same soldier for many fewer Arabs. Furthermore, this crossed the red line of negotiating with terrorists who openly said they would continue their terrorism.
The Rebbe called it a weakness and a diplomatic move to win favor in the eyes of the Americans and Arabs. Moreover, said the Rebbe, putting terrorists in prison to begin with, rather than executing them, was a big mistake, since it invited pressure to release them at some point.
On another occasion, during a yechidus with an Israeli official, the Rebbe strongly criticized the Israeli governments policy of arresting and imprisoning Arab terrorists. “You are mistaken when you arrest and imprison terrorists,” the Rebbe warned. “These terrorists came to kill and they should be killed. You’re going to end up paying dearly when they demand the release of these killers in a prisoner exchange.”
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