From the other side of the bench


Killing to live

By David Seidemann

Any time. Any day. In a heartbeat I would gladly swap 400 to 500, even 600 of the enemy alive, for one or two dead Israeli soldiers. And I’d free a thousand of the enemy for one living Jewish soldier. That’s how special each Israeli soldier is to me. I’d do it in a flash because that’s the difference between us and them. They live to kill. We kill to live.

Israel has no choice. She must. She must free them all to gain the return of one Jew whose body and soul, dead or alive has been tortured and ripped asunder from his family, his country and his people. Until a reunification comes about, no one involved, not the captive, not the family, not we, who pray daily for their safe return, will be able to sleep.

But what about the flip side? What about releasing 500 agents of death and destruction into Israel’s tiny neighborhood? Unfortunately, if it won’t be one of those 500, another “martyr” will strap on the explosive express belt to heaven. So it really doesn’t matter, sad to say. Israel will just have to keep an eye on the animals they set free 24/7, impossible as it might seem.

So Hezbollah and Hamas can dance all night long, firing guns into the air and claim victory. The victory in a certain sense is Israel’s for once, again demonstrating that one of hers is worth thousands of theirs.

Now before you get all happy, know that Israel failed miserably. They failed by allowing the soldiers to be captured. They failed by not rescuing them months ago. They failed by instilling in the enemy the platform to bargain and now in exchanging the dead for the living, in sending a message that there no longer is an incentive to keep Israeli captives alive. After all, Israel will exchange the living for the dead so why keep the Israeli prisoner alive?

But here is where Israel really failed. Here is where she showed weakness and emboldened the enemy. Moses went on the offensive, so did Joshua and so did King David against the giant Goliath. Moses, Joshua and David dictated the terms of the battle. It was Pharaoh, Jericho, and Goliath that had to fight on Israel’s terms. It was the Jews of Shushan that took the battle to Haman and the Hasmoneans who took the battle to the Greeks in the epic battle of Hanukah. It was Israel who in modern times executed the raid at Entebbe and who dictated the pace of each war started by her enemies.

In Biblical times, the ten spies dispatched by Moses to “tour” the land of Israel returned with a negative report. Their sin, according to some commentators, was that they displayed weakness to the very enemy they were destined to conquer. That, my friends, is the sin Israel is repeating today, the display of weakness.

So here is the deal. The “new deal.” First of all, Israel doesn’t care anymore, not one red cent what the U.N. (United Nothing) says. She does what she needs to do. Second, she admits that it is better to have the enemy fear her than love her and her policy decisions begin to reflect that. Third, each Kassam or Katyusha that lands in Israel brings with it as a price, the head of at least one enemy leader. No ifs, ands or buts. No grace period. No turning the other “panim.”

Fourth, Israel, not the enemy, dictates the terms of prisoner exchanges. And the deal is constituted as follows: The enemy has 12 hours to return a living, breathing, unharmed Jewish soldier. If the soldier is not returned within that time frame, the first group of 450 enemy prisoners is executed. Hey, they have already demonstrated that one Jewish soldier dead or alive is worth 450 or so of theirs. And so it goes. Every 12 hours a Jewish soldier remains captive, another 450 of the enemy meet their maker. Sounds harsh? It only has to happen once and that will be the end of it. It’s worth the sacrifice in terms of public condemnation. Who’s going to condemn Israel anyway? Precisely. The same nations that condemn Israel every time she does anything to protect her own.

They are all talking tough now. Hezbollah, Hamas, Ahmadinejad, Saniora. They are all claiming victory.

As long as the enemy dictate the terms, then they are the victors. The day “David” retakes the battle to Goliath, then and only then will the madness end. There is no question that Israel has the right and the might to protect its own. The question is only whether they have the heart.

David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann & Mermelstein. He can be reached at (718) 692-1013 and at