'Terrorist Deal like a Defeat'

Col. (res.) Eliezer Sheinwald, Head of Modiin Hesder Yeshiva: upcoming deal shows leadership's loss of values.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 7:17 PM

Demonstration for Shalit
Demonstration for Shalit
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Col. (res.) Eliezer Sheinwald, Head of the Modiin Hesder Yeshiva, likened mass the release of terrorists for Cpl. Gilad Shalit to a national defeat in a battle with Hamas. The expected deal is an expression of the Israeli leadership's loss of values and lack of a code for behavior, he said.

"The picture is very complex,” the rabbi explained in an interview with Arutz Sheva. “On the one hand, our heart is with Gilad Shalit who was sent on a mission. Our heart is with the suffering of the Shalit family, but on the other hand the deal is very problematic.”

"Usually the deal is attacked because it will involve the release if terrorists who will cause additional killing,” Sheinwald said. “This is true but it is not the main thing. Those who present the deal as a prisoner swap also miss the truth. The truth is that Hamas, like Hizbullah, is a non-state actor that is combating our sovereignty. They fire Kassam missiles at us and send suicide bombers. They fight us in unconventional ways and they strive to damage our sovereignty through violence.”

"Gilad Shalit was abducted not just as a bargaining chip but also to challenge our sovereignty," Sheinwald said. "They abducted him out of a clear knowledge that Israeli society would have difficulty bearing the abduction, and that they could thus harm our essence. Had we been a different society, that does not care about an abducted soldier, they would not have abducted him. They take advantage of our weakness and turn the abduction into a military goal. And in a military confrontation, the other side's goal is to undo the [enemy's] plan. If all the terrorists are released in the Shalit deal, then this would be a strategic blow, as if we had been defeated in battle or retreated from an outpost captured by the enemy.”

Israel's leadership must understand that this is a war, the rabbi said. “In a battle, there are casualties. People get killed and wounded. That is part of war. Bringing Gilad Shalit back home is important, but not in exchange for terrorists. We could have brought about his return without releasing terrorists. This is not a prisoner exchange... This is a kind of unconventional battle designed to cause our collapse, and in this kind of battle people either get killed or they submit to the enemy.”

"Something happened to us since the Jibril deal [in 1986] when we gave more than 1,000 terrorists for soldiers,” he said. “Everyone remembers the Entebbe raid, when people put themselves in harm's way to bring the hostages back. Something in the leadership's code of behavior has changed in a negative way. We do not behave as one should behave in war. Unfortunately, our enemies take advantage of this, and fight us in a clever way. They keep creating more operations against us and I am sorry to say these could eventually bring about Israel's demise.”