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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What would the Maharam say?

Rabbi Meir ben Baruch, known as the Maharam of Rothenburg refused to let his 13th century Jewish community ransom him and eventually died in prison. I discussed the Maharam in the context of the Goldwasser and Regev 'trade' in the summer of 2008 here. Bob Avrech discusses the Maharam and the 'terrorists for Gilad' trade currently unfolding (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad via Twitter). Here's his bottom line:
Israel will, eventually, release hundreds of terrorists in order to secure Shalit's release.

The politicians are in favor of this deal because precedent has already been set by previous unwise Israeli administrations. And Shalit's captivity is an open wound in Israeli society, a loud, squabbling extended family.

The IDF is in favor of this trade—this deal with the devil—because the IDF lives by a doctrine that no soldier is ever left behind.

The security services are unhappy for obvious reasons, but they have to go along. And, they reason, at least they know who to keep an eye on. And let's not forget that a number of Arab prisoners have already been flipped so they will supply valuable intel to the Israelis.

But let us be clear: you and I and every Jew in the world is, with each of these lopsided trades, placed in harms way because the Arab Muslim terrorists understand that Israel and Judaism are built on a foundation of empathy and decency.

And for the Arab Muslim terrorist and their western enablers this virtue is nothing less than a fatal weakness to be exploited again and again and again.
Read the whole thing. I had not thought of the intelligence angle, but I'm afraid that assessment is overly optimistic. I also had not thought of it as a danger to Jews outside Israel, and while that is correct, most of the danger from this 'trade' is to Jews in Israel.

Regardless, I have little doubt that the Maharam would not approve. He didn't believe in sacrificing communal well-being for one individual. And in his case, it was only money.


At 12:27 AM, Blogger Neshama said...

It's true that if no one thinks you're worth the trade, the trade would lose its luster; but to let him KNOWINGLY let him spend the rest of his days with his captives is very cruel and would weigh very heavy on the hearts of the Israelis.

Also, sometimes captives end up going to the other side after being brainwashed; but more depressing is knowing your people don't give a 'shnekel' for you.


At 12:30 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


We're not talking about money here. If we were, I have little doubt that the people of Israel would spend just about any sum required (despite the fact that in his time the Maharam forbade his community from doing that).

But how many Israelis will lose their lives God forbid to bring this kid home? Based on past experience, that number is likely to run into the hundreds.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Israel should not pay a ransom...

Israel should liquidate Hamas members on a weekly basis and say it will continue until he is released UNHARMED...

If he is harmed?

Israel will liquidate 1000 Hamas members were they sleep..

At 2:16 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should be liquidating Hamas instead of trying to raise its prestige through an act of self-inflicted national humiliation. Israel has all this power but is afraid to use it against a deadly enemy. If I was Shalit, I would urge Israel to destroy Hamas completely even at the cost of my life. A soldier is supposed to give his life for his country and to Israel's shame, its leaders and Shalit's family have forgotten it. He won't return home a hero.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Old Yellowstain said...

Neshama, I signed this letter of proclamation, stating that should I ever be ransomed by the rabid enemy, no such lopsided negotiations should take place on my behalf.

What's causing Israelis to have a heavy heart is the constant emotional display and the megaphoning of it by Israel's news left wing news media, who have no problem releasing 1000s of Arab butchers to return to their profession of killing Jews.

Misguided pity.


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