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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Tevet 15, 5768, 12/24/2007

      Don't Let Murderers Go Free!

      "Law and Order" is not just a television show - it is a building block of society
      Rockets may still be going off in Sderot, but that hasn't stopped Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from conjuring up new concessions to make to the Palestinians.

      Media reports indicate that Olmert is now considering doing away with yet another Israeli "red line" by releasing Palestinian terrorists with "blood on their hands".

      Or, to put it somewhat less delicately, it seems the premier is ready to let murderers go free.

      On the one hand, this move is hardly surprising. After all, the government has made clear just how desperate it is to get an agreement with the Palestinians, seemingly at any price. And if Olmert and his colleagues are ready to expel hundreds of thousands of innocent people from their homes, divide our capital city and forego our nation's historic heartland, then is anyone really shocked at their readiness to perpetrate still another moral outrage?

      And yet - there is something so elementary, so fundamentally wrong about setting killers free that one would have hoped that at least on this issue some shred of humanity and decency would have prevailed.

      Swinging open the jail cells and letting killers walk is not an act of compassion or even political savvy. It is showing kindness to the cruel, and broadcasting a dangerous message to all of our foes: namely, that they can act with virtual impunity.

      What Mr. Olmert seems to have forgotten is that "Law and Order" is not just a television show - it is a building block of society. And it weakens us all when those who commit the most heinous of crimes are allowed to escape the punishment they so justly deserve.