In the name of which set of morals should we choose Gilad Shalit's life over the lives of people to be abducted in the future because of the surrender that prompted his release? And once all prisoners demanded by Hamas will be released, how many of our citizens will be murdered? Is each one of those calling for securing Shalit's release "at any price" willing to pay that price personally when they are murdered, heaven forbid, by a released detainee? And what will we be paying for abductees in the future? A Jerusalem neighborhood in exchange for a solider and half a neighborhood for a civilian?
A greater problem is the fact that people who abduct Israelis are going on with their lives while feeling nothing bad will happen to them and that they won't have to pay any price for their acts. Only once in history did abductors of Israelis have to pay with their lives for the abduction: The kidnappers of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, apparently because the captives were murdered.
The Hamas leaders who hold Gilad Shalit are sleeping in their beds, sitting in their offices, and traveling worldwide as if there is nothing wrong with their acts and conduct. On Monday, the man who abducted Shalit and is holding him, Ahmad Jabri, traveled to Egypt while realizing that an IDF drone is flying above his car. The State of Israel no longer scares anyone, and many in the Arab world feel that they can do anything against it, without paying any price for their actions, as grave as these may be.
No place for European-style guestsThe people of Israel are perceived by their neighbors and enemies as an impatient nation that wants everything now; a nation that has no ability to sustain the pains of living in the poverty-stricken, hungry, thirsty, sick, split, and radical environment that surrounds it. Our enemies know that such nation cannot survive in the oh-so-ancient Mideast, where the Shiites are still fighting for control of Islam 1,400 years after it was wrested away from them, and where terms like democracy, human rights, minority rights, liberty of women, and religious freedom are a distant dream; much more distant than our lack of endurance.
The pathetically submissive image of the people of Israel encourages more abductions and boosts the psychological pressure exerted on us by our neighbors. They are unimpressed with the hollow slogans uttered by our bleeding hearts, such as "our advantage is our morality" or "concern for our soldiers is above all." They perceive it as a sign of skewed and crazy priorities, as the increasingly privatized Israel prefers the life of one soldier over national interests. They view it as emotional weakness. A nation that acts and feels that way will not survive here over time.
Only a nation instilled with ideology and possessing a collective sense of mission and confidence in its righteousness, feeling that it is part of a just historical process and willing to pay and suffer the price of survival in blood, sweat and tears can survive in the Mideast. This region is not a place for European-style guests, who lost the willingness to fight for their freedom and pay for it in the blood.
And what will happen should I be abducted? I hereby order all readers to secure my release in exchange for one person only; a person just like me and no more: A 57-year-old academician and lecturer with no tenure. You can trade me for less, but certainly not for more.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s department of Arabic and a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies