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Kidnappings: The accidental cure

By Zalmi Unsdorfer
6/19/2014, 9:06 PM

The more you follow events in Israel, the more you realize things just do not happen the way they do anywhere else in the world.

Whether it’s our miraculous victories in war, or the normality of life surrounded by millions of sworn enemies outside our borders and living with a million of their kith and kin inside. It’s hard to be an atheist in Israel.

And so with the recent kidnapping – something out of the ordinary happens.

The reaction, sadly delayed by a police foul-up, was a massive manhunt in the immediate area of the kidnapping in Etzion and Chevron.

Within 48 hours the dragnet had spread further afield. In this process, the IDF picked up some of the high-ups in Hamas and its jihadist offshoots for questioning. Essentially this was an intelligence-gathering operation by whatever means to interrogate locals and urgently pick up the trail of the kidnappers.

And then something else happened.

We heard that more than 50 of the prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit were rearrested. And that other villains freed in the more recent round of misguided prisoner releases are also being rounded-up to be returned to their jails in Israel.

This is a remarkable turnaround and one which I refuse to believe was a strategy worked-out well in advance by the powers-that-be, as is so often claimed in Israel. 

All the anguish over the prisoner releases was about killers getting away with murder. About them laughing all the way to their next recidivist attack.  Not one MK or media pundit ever said they were on a short leash, or that they could/would be so easily recaptured to serve their full terms.

And yet, this is what’s happening.

And of all the ideas bandied about in the process of the prisoner releases in the Knesset and newspapers and pontificated by the talking heads on Israel TV, no-one to my knowledge ever raised this prospect of turning the tables so decisively on Hamas and the PLO.  Not even the taxi drivers came up with the idea of saying: “Now the kidnapping stops, or we round-up the lot of you and you’ll serve your full tariff back in our jails”.

It’s pure genius.

Another example of Israeli improvisation.

Or what?