The greatest concern, which you did not mention, is that perhaps the temporary pause might turn into a permanent ceasefire, and we will not eradicate Hamas

Expand full comment

You didn't deal with potential international pressure to extend the pause indefinitely and the difficulty in resuming; the possibility that the exchange rate will gradually get ever more lopsided as they look to extend evermore; and the fact that some of these terrorists are being released into Israel proper if I'm not mistaken . .

Expand full comment

well said, as usual. i was concerned about the regrouping and still am, but this article helped the perspective

Expand full comment

It is not often that I get to hit the heart ❤️ button, but today is the day.

Expand full comment

"But the State failed in its responsibility to its civilians, and it must pay a heavy price."

If by "state" you mean "government", then no one is paying any price for the deal. The government spend nearly two decades appeasing Hamas, leaving their citizens vulnerable, while they could have - at any point before October 7th, 2023 - utterly destroyed the threat. They traded their citizen's security for cheap Arab labor to deflate the cost of produce.

In the end, the only ones who suffer are normal Israeli citizens, who remain as hostages, who fear for their lost relatives, who fight a war that cannot be won, and who wait for their brothers, fathers sons, to return home. They're the ones who suffer.

And while normal Israelis suffer, the elected politicians and generals look forward to their cushy retirements in Western countries.

Expand full comment

The exchange rate is directly correlated to the perceived importance/value of each individual hostage.

So, when Hamas has an enormous number of them, they can release some of them without losing too much leverage, and the exchange rate can therefore be low.

But as they will have less and less of them, they'll ask for more to release them, and it's hard to imagine they will eventually get to a point when they have no hostage left up their sleeve. Or, they will ask for them the same absurd deals as for Gilad Shalit.

On the other hand, confidence in the fact Israel will always do anything to get them back is very important for the morale of the soldiers in the IDF.

Expand full comment

I don't know whether the hostage deal was the right things to do or not. From a question of future attacks, stopping the war, all the things you mentioned, there are serious questions about the wisdom of this deal. Just making any sort of deal with pure evil is sickening.

You can agree with all of that. But there's another reality as well. Seeing reunited families, see mothers hugging their children, hearing the stories of how hostages were treated, children deeply traumatized, when there was a chance for Israel to get at least some of them back, it was 100% the right thing to do to bring them back. To leave them in the hands of Hamas would have been unthinkable.

Both things are true, despite conflicting with one another.

Expand full comment

"From a Torah perspective, it’s important to bear in mind that pidyon shevuyim, redeeming captives, is a tremendously important mitzvah. And this is real pidyon shevuyim of the highest order, not bailing some fraudster out of a US prison. Yes, the Mishnah says that one should not redeem them for “more than their value” as it incentivizes further kidnapping, and Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg famously refused to be redeemed for this reason. But every case of paying ransom, even for no more than “the value” of a person, incentivizes it - and yet the mitzvah still exists! Clearly, facilitating a certain degree of incentive is sometimes outweighed by the need to save people from a horrible fate in the here and now."

Very nice article in general, but please explain what you mean with this analysis.

Obviously, when the Mishnah says not to redeem for more than their value, it was aware that even at value incentives kidnapping. So it was drawing a line. How are you getting around that line?

Expand full comment

More respect for Torah sources is in order!

I am making a protest that this article is condescending.

The questions never started...it's all fluff.

Never Again!

Expand full comment

You wrote, "Regading the problem of incentivizing, there’s no such thing as increasing Hamas’ desire to kidnap people any more than it already is. They already received over 1000 terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit alone. "

Your logic here on this particular point, I think, is flawed. You can argue that this particular deal does not incentivize them, but the idea certain responses by Israel have no way of incentivizing or de-incentivizing future kidnappings is just no plausible. If they beleive they can bring the country to its knees with kidnappings, then it incentivies them kidnap more people in the future. It's simple human behavior. Again, you can argue that THIS response will not incentivize them, or you can argue that despite the risk of incentivizing them this deal is necessary due to other considerations. But the idea that nothing will alter their behavior makes no no sense.

Expand full comment

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed wrote an article opposing the deal.

Expand full comment

More than anything else, Hamas is playing for time while they lick their wounds. The more time that goes by, the greater the international pressure for a ceasefire builds up and the more difficult for the IDF to resume operations with unavoidable civilian collateral damage.

Expand full comment
Nov 28, 2023·edited Nov 28, 2023

The Mishna says their not bought back for more than their worth to prevent reoccurence.

But wait! Isn't every case of payment an incentive? Great question!

And the answer is...

Drum Roll Please....

Yes there is a mitzvah to buy back....but we must take care to not OVER pay.

Paying MORE than their fair value OVER incentivizes.

Correct that any payment is an incentive - obviously. But we want to LIMIT that incentive.

So, again, we don't OVER incentivize.

(Sorry for sounding condescending, but condescending calls for condescending. Try to comprehend Mishnas before sounding off. Their smarter than us.)

Expand full comment

The hostage deal was broked by the US and would have been accepted by Ben Gvir if he was the prime minister. Israel is totally dependend on the US and is fortunate to have this level of support. There was no possibility not to accept it.

Expand full comment

This is going to sound bad, I know. If it were any of my children taken hostage, there is NO PRICE TOO HIGH to get them back. That is obvious. But maybe this is what leadership is about. For the government to move forward understanding that we can't lose the war even to get back hostage.

The Shalit deal is the proximate cause of the 10/7 disaster.

Expand full comment

All the arguments on this issue are moot, because when America says jump, Israel asks how high. As the Steipler claimed already years ago “Israel is not considered to be beyad Yisroel because they are beholden to America for everything. This is more true now then ever before. I know this is a bitter pill for all Zionists (are there any left??) but it’s reality. Wake up and realize אין לנו להשען אלא על אבינו שבשמים!

Expand full comment