Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
Rabbi Prof. Dov FischerCourtesy
I held back on writing this for a day because I am very aware that, living in America — whatever the reason (and my readers know that reason) — who am I, what business have I, to chime in on the hostage deal?

But I can hold back only for a day. If Joe Biden can give his opinion from America, so can I. But I am not on the scene, and I recognize and even ask that my readers take this all with a grain of salt, a “butt-in-sky” from California. Still, as I have quoted Yeshayahu (Isaiah) before: “L’ma’an TzionFor Zion’s sake I cannot hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be silent.”

I don’t like this deal. Not one bit.

I don’t trust Hamas, and even if I did trust them it would not matter. They must be obliterated. After they all have gone up in smoke, been buried under rubble, and been asphyxiated in their tunnels, I will think about them again. All they mean to me now is that they are poison to be expunged, rats underground in tunnels to be exterminated.

Every Israeli “hostage deal” makes it worse for the next time. It means more Jews will be slaughtered later in return for fewer hostages now. The price is too high.

I will share an example from The Exile where our specialty is Weak Jews:

Back in the 1980s, I think it was, New York City was amid a crime wave. (Come to think of it, New York City always is in the midst of a crime wave.) But this time a big story erupted: some drug-crazed street mugger approached an Orthodox Jew walking to shul on Shabbat and demanded money. The Jew explained it was his Sabbath, and Jews don’t carry money on the Holy Day. So the mugger stabbed him to death.

A big debate erupted among New York Orthodox rabbis. “It is forbidden to carry outdoors on Shabbat where there is no Eruv (a construct that permits carrying then). However, perhaps we rabbonim (Orthodox rabbis) should pasken (rule) that, for pikuach nefesh (to save lives), from now on all Orthodox Jews should carry $10 cash in their pockets on Shabbat in case they are mugged.”

Jews. Jews.


The debate raged: Yes, they should carry the ten bucks. It will appease the muggers. No, ten dollars is not enough; it should be twenty dollars. Maybe ten dollars in each pocket. No, we cannot break Shabbos, and we have to rely on Hashem to protect us.

And then a very great rabbi, whose name, like that of Voldemort, may not be spoken in certain Israeli circles, chimed in: “Jews! Jews! Oy, my Jews! Once you have rabbis publicly ruling that Orthodox Jews should carry cash in their pockets from Friday sunset to Saturday nightfall, to give to muggers if approached, you will have every mugger in the neighboring states from Connecticut to Kentucky, from Maine to Alabama, coming to New York City every Shabbat and looking for men with black hats and beards, and women with sheitel-type hair covering, all demanding their fair share of the weekly Jewish Sabbath Mugger Entitlement. Jews! If you must temper halakhah (Judaic law) for pikuach nefesh (saving lives) by ruling that Jews suddenly may carry outdoors even where there is no Eruv, then don’t tell them to carry cash for the muggers. Tell them to carry guns for the muggers. Every Jew a .22, better yet something stronger but it doesn’t rhyme. ”

Eventually, the debate ended. Orthodox Jews did not carry cash on Shabbat. Life went on. Muggers learned to bother people with tzitzit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead.

I think back to that insanity as I react with exasperation to the present Hamas deal. As of this writing, it still has not been implemented. We shall see what transpires with our beheading and raping cousins.

This deal exasperates me because it is like telling the New York City muggers you carry money for them every Shabbat. Even before the disastrous Shalit deal, there were insane deals. Wikipedia actually has a page devoted to idiotic Israeli-Arab hostage deals: “List of Arab-Israeli prisoner exchanges.” Here we go with two highlights besides the Shalit deal:

Six IDF soldiers were released November 23, 1983, in exchange for 4,765 Palestinians and Lebanese imprisoned at Ansar camp during the 1982 Lebanon war and 65 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. (No typos.)

That’s all it took to create a precedent even more dramatic than telling American muggers that Orthodox Jews are carrying cash for them every Shabbat, so just look for the Mogen Dovid to start Muggin’ Dovid. (Say it out loud.) Schmendricks: 6 for 4,830. Gee, I wonder whether that tells Arabs that Israel will give insane amounts in any deal. Let’s see:

In 1984 Israel swapped 291 Syrian prisoners and the bodies of 72 others in exchange for six Israeli prisoners and five bodies. 6 living for 72, and 5 deceased for 291. And no Eli Cohen from Suria. More idiocy.

The remaining two soldiers from the Bhamdoun raid in the hands of PFLP-GC, as well as a third IDF prisoner captured during the battle of Sultan Ya'qoub, also held by the PFLP-GC, were released May 20, 1985, in an exchange known as the “Jibril Agreement” for 1,150 Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails. Among those released were 380 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. 3 for 1,150. And 380 whose victims were promised that the murderers would never see daylight again.

These insane deals were negotiated by Jews, a people deemed tricky and wily in business. Why can’t they negotiate? They have taught our enemies that, whenever you attack, no matter how gruesome and massive — replete with rapes, cutting fetuses out of live pregnant women and then stabbing all to death, burning others alive, putting babies in ovens, cutting off so many heads that ZAKA needs days, if not weeks, to figure out which heads go with which bodies — don’t forget to take hostages.

I believe Israel has to look at the families of the hostages — straight in the eyes — and say:

“You are our flesh and blood. We will leave no stone unturned, no hospital uninvaded, no tunnel unflooded or unbombed until we find and recover your beloved. But we simply cannot engage in a deal or an exchange with Hamas. The buck stops here. No more deals. We will bomb them to rubble if we have to. Moreover, Hamas has given us their list of people they want released, in the order of priority. We swear to you: for every hostage that does not come out alive, we will execute the next ten on that list.

“If we have to, we will execute the whole list. If they kill women and children, we will execute imprisoned Arab women and children who have blood on their hands. We know the world will accuse us of genocide, but that is the beauty of being accused that way already. The students on American campuses will call for our eradication from the River to the Sea, but they are already doing that. We are vaccinated from Jew-hate.

“The American Democrat liberals, woke, and progressives will be in shock? They already are in shock. And the Republicans are with us. We won’t have Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, but we will have Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis. But the buck stops here and now. It’s over. No more deals.

“ ‘No negotiations with terrorists — ever’ means no negotiations with terrorists — ever. We will wipe out everyone on their list if it comes to that. We have learned our lesson: every time we make a deal to save hostages, we end up planting seeds for the murders of ten times that number later.”

I oppose any pause. Hamas will use the pause to resupply tunnels with food, water, and fuel. They will re-arm their RPGs and launchers whose missiles have been emptied. They will lay new land mines. They will re-position attackers with RPGs, attack drones, and anti-tank missiles, based on the new positions they know the IDF has taken. They will relocate to different tunnels, and they will move hostages, too, down south. Israel’s tunnel bombing has cut off communications systems between tunnels with each other, and tunnels with above-ground command, and they will restore their communications networks. They may even kidnap an IDF soldier or two during the pause, and then it’s another deal.

I am for No Deal. Intensify the bombing. America will stand with Israel. America will not let Israel fall. Obama refused to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, and the snake Jack Lew defended that. So what happened? A few months later, Israel ended up with the unthinkable — an American embassy in Jerusalem, American recognition of Israel’s right to the Golan Heights, and America’s declaration that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are legal. That is how Jewish destiny marches. Gerald Ford is gone. Jimmy Carter is gone. James Baker is gone. Obama is gone. Kerry is gone. Biden is temporary. Israel is eternal.

No deal.

And I don’t like this “unity” war cabinet. It is artificially elevating Benny Gantz to be next prime minister, though he consistently promoted the “Conceptzia” (the idea that giving employment and financial aid to Hamas will stop terror and that "moving the lawn "of terrorists every few years will ensure that) over the years. Netanyahu and Gantz must be joined by the following four in a true unity cabinet that includes valuable views representing the broader, vast majority of the country other than the Lapid / Labor / Meretz / Ra’am Left:

1. Avigdor Liberman. Now is not the time to focus on his despicable views regarding religion in Israel. That is for tomorrow, not today. He is a tough-nosed, no-nonsense Russian who understands Hamas better than do most in the Israeli leadership who are obsessed with “American values and ethics” that America did not employ when they Dresdened Germany and nuked Japan. And, for goodness sakes, he was an actual Defense Minister, making him eminently qualified to sit in an expanded War Cabinet. He knows stuff.

2. Naftali Bennett. As with Liberman, his perfidy is unforgivable, but that also is for another day. He, too, has been Defense Minister, and some felt he was one of the best Defense Ministers Israel ever had. He knows stuff and,when Bibi starts fading from the scene, Bennett will emerge with Ron Dermer as Israel’s best spokesman in English, the language of America and England. He is a patriot, though a perfidious politician, formerly fought in the Sayeret Matkal commando unit like Netanyahu, and — although a proven liar — he belongs in the War Cabinet.

3 and 4. Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir. Their voices must be included on the inside during deliberations. Unlike Bibi and Gantz, they never bought into the “Conceptzia,” just as Liberman never did, and those views need to be included when strategic decisions are made. Compromises will be easier to sell to the broader Israeli public if they are part of the process.

That is what is needed. Kill the deal if Hamas does not do so first. Apologize to the families with the history included above. It’s gotta stop. These hostage deals have gotta stop. Israel can do everything in its power to find and rescue them, and the war must not stop — and the Dresdening of Gaza must continue — until they all go free or otherwise are brought home, and Hamas unconditionally surrenders. If any hostage has a hair touched, follow the Hamas list to execute them, one by one, on the order Hamas has indicated. Ten per lost Israeli, even though the Arabs have established that one Jew is worth a thousand of them. But ten are enough. Hang them for war crimes. They are not better than Eichmann.

Until then, I am just exasperated.

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Rav Fischer’s memorable two televised debates with a national leader of CAIR, the leading anti-Semitic Arab Muslim body in the United States, can be found here and here.

His latest deeply moving and informational program on the Hamas Gaza War may be found here on YouTube. Because of some sensitive subject matter and viewing content relating to Hamas terror, YouTube is restricting the program to viewers 18 and up. However, the program primarily includes inspiring video content and Jewish and Israeli music.