Families of the hostages in Knesset
Families of the hostages in KnessetThe Families Headquarters
I believe that Israel's future has priority over the hostages.


I've said it.

And don't get me wrong. I am well aware that, in the very short run, even the most irresponsible deal saves lives in the very short run by ending the war and gaining the release of possibly live hostages.

I'm not writing these words overseas.

I am writing them in Raanana.

I have skin in the game.

There are young women in my family who photograph and video their husbands playing with their young children.

Just in case.

But a nation cannot function based on an extremely short planning horizon.

I would mention, parenthetically, that the issue of planning horizon is nothing new.

When Rabbi Ovadiah Yoseph supported Oslo as preventing the loss of life - "pikuach nefesh" - he did it by explicitly giving a huge weight to the immediate present and close to no weight to projections of the consequences in the time to come. He believed that halakhically one must trust the experts, except that the experts were wrong.

As a result, it was only when, thanks to Oslo, hundreds of Israelis were being slaughtered by our "peace partners", Rabbi Yoseph had second thoughts.

That extremely short planning horizon is why Shas came out now supporting any possible hostage deal.

As a nation we cannot afford to discount the consequences tomorrow of leaving Hamas intact today.

As a nation, we cannot afford to set the precedent that our enemies can ensure their own survival by taking Israeli hostages.

I fully understand that, as far as some of the families of the hostages are concerned, the release of their loved ones who might possibly still be alive, takes precedence over all other consideration.

But there is a difference between understanding the weight which these families put on the release of their loved ones as compared to the weightthey give to the future of our nation and applying these weights to the decision-making process.

Dr. Aaron Lerner heads IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis, since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations