Will halachic concerns be made part of a future prisoner exchange deal? Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) met Sunday with the parents of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
The meeting was preceded by the families' meeting with Shas spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Yishai told the families that Shas' decision on whether or not to support the government's decision on a pending prisoner exchange deal, which could guarantee their sons' return, would be made only after the party heads would meet with Rabbi Yosef.
After meeting with Rabbi Yosef, Shlomo Goldwasser, Ehud's father, said that the rabbi blessed each family member separately: "We felt that he is emotionally involved in our case, and he prayed for the boys' safe return home… if someone’s fate is to have their son kidnapped it is better to be a part of the united Jewish nation.”
One of the party's considerations when making the decision, Yishai told the families, is the halachic definition of Karnit Goldwasser, Ehud's wife, as an "abandoned wife." According to Jewish tradition a woman whose husband has gone missing cannot remarry until he is either found and grants her a divorce, or is pronounced dead.
Karnit Goldwasser was not present at the meeting, but her husband's parents reportedly asked Yishai to do all he can to make sure Shas supports the deal. Sources in Shas said much of the conversation revolved around Karnit's unclear marital status.
Should it be found that Goldwasser and Regev are no longer alive, said a source in Shas, than the "prisoner exchange deal will no longer be one entailing the exchange of living Lebanese prisoners for dead soldiers; but rather one of exchanging living Lebanese prisoners for Karnit's life."