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Promises Kept

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The dog tag bangs against my clavicle. I have been wearing it for some time, usually discreetly. Today, though, I want to draw people’s attention to it. I want them to ask me whose it is. I want to tell them about Udi, Eldad, and Gilad. I want them to know about the loss that our people has suffered today and the hope to which we still cling.

final salute

Ehud “Udi” Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were brought home to their families today in black coffins. Forensic examinations provided the closure that has eluded the Goldwasser and Regev families for seven hundred thirty four days. Udi and Eldad were alive when they were taken by Hezbollah and were returned dead.

Without question, the issue of a prisoner swap is a complicated one. Israel has always upheld what she views as a moral and ethical obligation to bring home her solidiers even, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert states, “at the heavy price of releasing a heinous murderer.” But it would be impossible for the State to routinely send its youth into harm’s way without ensuring the welfare of her soldiers.

The “heinous murderer” is Samir Kuntar. He is responsible for infiltrating the border in 1979 and murdering four Israelis, including the brutal murder of a 4-year-old girl and her father. The release of Kuntar and four Hezbollah terrorists was celebrated in Lebanon and Gaza with the prisoner release being hailed as a victory by both Hezbollah and Hamas.

It is both our actions and reaction that define us. And divide us. Never would such human destruction be regarded as a triumph. Never would the arrival of a convicted murderer be commemorated.

We are still waiting for Gilad. His capture by Hamas was just a few weeks prior to the kidmapping of Udi and Eldad, and Hamas has repeatedly maintained that Gilad is still alive and will be returned safely in exchange for Hamas prisoners being held in Israel.

It is this hope that sustains Gilad’s family. The same hope that had fortified Udi and Eldad’s families and is now no more. Now they search only for peace as their boys are placed in the earth that they gave their lives to defend.

HaMakom y’nachem etchem b’toch sh’ar aveilei tzion v’rushalayim.

May the Holy One comfort us among all the mourners of Tziyon and Yerushalayim.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Thursday, 17 July 2008 6:37 pm

    Kuntar should have been returned in the same condition as we received our soldiers.

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