Principle vs. Love and Devotion in Israel’s Prisoner Exchange

Haim Watzman

In principle, I oppose uneven prisoner exchanges, but that’s not why I wasn’t able to watch the television coverage of Wednesday’s exchange of Lebanese terrorists for dead Israeli soldiers. My wife had the television on but I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t have a way of dealing with my conflicting emotions and fears; my anger and frustration; my agony.

Neither did I have stomach for writing about it that day here, or for participating in the debate over the deal (see, for example, themiddle, Esther, and grandmufti over at Jewlicious, and so many others in the Israeli and Zionist papers and blogs).

When Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were dragged off by Hezbollah guerrillas two summers ago—at that time we had to presume they were still alive when taken prisoner—these two reservists could have been me or any of my friends. During my years of reserve duty, I conducted innumerable border patrols of this sort. I know how easy it is to fall into false security, to assume, on the last day before you head home, that all is quiet and nothing can happen. I identified completely with the anger and frustration of their fellow-reservists, who wanted to fight to get their friends back.

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