Bus attacked by terrorist in August
Photo: Eyal Behrbalk
I never opposed Gilad Shalit’s release. The opposite is true. I promoted mass prayer sessions for his sake at Diaspora communities and made sure that his name was mentioned in holiday and Shabbat meals I attended. In my meetings worldwide I spoke of the abducted soldier and his imprisonment conditions and of course believed that the Israeli government and IDF will find a way to bring Gilad home. All of us are Gilad.
Yet who has the right to negotiate the release of those who murdered my father? Some nine and a half years ago, my father was murdered by Hamas men. All of them, including the terror attack’s masterminds, were Arab Israelis from Silwan. There were no remains left of my father that we could bury. The suicide bomber hit not only my father directly, but also us, members of the Kimchi family. We shall continue to bear the pain, suffering, loss, longing, memories and nightmares to our last day.
Families of terror victims say that the prisoner swap deal will cost even more lives, give terror groups 'morale boost'
I was comforted to some extent by the fact that the Silwan terror cell members were nabbed and jailed, and I believed they shall not be released. I put my trust in the State of Israel that neither they nor other terrorists, who are responsible for the murder of hundreds of Israelis, shall be freed. Yet I was proven wrong.
The fear has been realized and turned into a nightmare for the families of Israeli terror victims. Why must we suffer again? Why must we be the ones who pay twice in pain and suffering? My father, and many others who were murdered, won’t be back. So why should these murderers, who were imprisoned in hotel-like conditions, go back home? Has terrorism become a profitable business?
Learn from America
Some people in the State of Israel forgot the images of devastated buses nationwide; the sights of coffee shops and restaurants that were razed; the terror attack in Netanya’s Park Hotel in the midst of Passover prayers and the Dolphinarium attack, where teenagers who only wanted to have fun with their friends were murdered. Only a few months ago, five members of an Itamar family were murdered. Can we imagine their murderers’ release?
I imagine that it was not easy for Benjamin Netanyahu so finalize such swap, yet as much as I try, I cannot find any logic in releasing terrorists, who will apparently return to terror and harm more innocents. I feel a deep sense of disappointment, hurt and betrayed by the Israeli government. Our heads of state must offer an apology, at least to the families who lost their loved ones.
I hold deep appreciation for the Israeli government, yet I am bothered by the thought that our leaders have something to learn from the American administration, which sticks to its guns and instead of joining forces with the terrorists, fights them; without deals and without concessions.
In capitulating to terror, the Israeli government hurts thousands of families, not only in Israel, but worldwide. It places hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians under a life-threatening situation vis-à-vis terrorists; we all know that at least some of them shall go back to terror. The release of terrorists grants terror legitimacy and encourages others to continue their attacks.
We, terror victims worldwide, have a way to show revenge. Our revenge is to show the terrorists how strong we are together. Terrorism shall not break or defeat us, yet to my regret, the release of so many terrorists does not only weaken us – it positions terror as the victor and harms the victims twice. Today I Feel that my father, just like many other victims, is being murdered the second time.
Kobi Kimchi resides in New York at this time, where he established, along with Sari Singer, the One Heart organization for the families of terror victims
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