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Friday, July 4, 2014

Postmortem: Was The Israeli Government Wrong to Give The Impression The Kidnapped Teens Were Alive?

Writing another postmortem on the Arab terrorist kidnapping of the three Jewish teenagers, I feel it necessary to delve into the snowballing issue of whether or not the Israeli government was right to give the impression that the kidnapped boys were alive, even though they knew perfectly well that the boys had been murdered. Once they took the phone call seriously, they heard the sound of the shots. Also the sounds of hysterical partying and celebrations coming from Arab villages that night should have had raised suspicions. Many of us, far from any official security sources suspected that the boys had been murdered immediately after their capture. And we felt that the type of searches the IDF was doing showed that the army considered them dead.

Some people, like Noam Sheizaf in 972 consider the official line that the boys are still alive to have had been a manipulation of the families and public.
Details under gag order could have suggested early on that the abducted teens were murdered. The government-led campaign calling for their release helped the legitimacy of Israel’s military operation in the West Bank. Local and even international media played along.The following issue is not the heart of the kidnapping affair, the Israeli military operation or its aftermath — but it does carry an important lesson, especially for journalists. The bottom line is this: the Israeli public has been manipulated.
To be honest, I think that the government did the right thing.

From the beginning of the search and certainly after hearing the emergency call, it was pretty clear that there would not be a happy ending to the story. Even if the boys were "just wounded," the chance of any of them getting proper medical care and surviving was pretty slim. Thirty-one years ago, Aaron Gross, HaYa"D was stabbed in Hebron and left to bleed to death in an Arab hospital.

But of course, our Jewish and Israeli history is full of amazing unexpected survival and victories. Otherwise we'd be just a short postscript or footnote in massive volumes of ancient history. There wouldn't be a State of Israel today nor a Jewish People if our survival was dependent on the normal rules/laws of nature.

Was it a cruel manipulation of the families and public to keep up hope that these three rather ordinary teens, who liked sports, music and normal teen activities as their families described, were alive and waiting to be rescued?

I think it would have had been a gazillion times worse if the parents and public had been told they were dead and they were in fact fighting for life. How many times had "experts" predicted the end of the Jewish People and here we are thriving despite the terrorism and antisemitism in this world?

If the families had campaigned for their sons' dead bodies for proper burial, would that have been as effective and moving? Would the parents had preferred that? The rallying cry would have been "We want to bury our sons" instead of "We want to hug our sons." I can't speak for the families.

Bat-Galim and Ofir Sha'ar
Flash 90
I certainly sympathize with the anger of the families in the delayed search, because for whatever reason, the police didn't take the call seriously.
An angry Bat-Galim Sha'ar, mother of Gilad (16), who along with Eyal Yifrah (19) and Naftali Frenkel (16) was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, on Wednesday leveled harsh criticism at top security officials.
Unfortunately, it seems that the boys were already dead before the earliest the police could have begun searching.

None of these arguments will bring back Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel HaYa"D. All the arguing and condemnation will do is to destroy the unity we achieved while searching and praying for the boys.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat


4 comments:

Esther said...

940Batya, my biggest fear was that the boys were being starved, mistreated and tortured under their Arab captors so in a way it was a relief that they weren't. It has been very traumatic for all of us and we can't even imagine what the parents are going through, may Hashem give them strength and comfort. I'm sure this has brought Mashiach a lot closer. Shavua tov adn besorot tovot.

Batya Medad said...

Amen
I am glad that the decision was not in my hands.

yitz said...

I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the mothers said that they were told that the shots heard on the tape were "blanks." Shades of Amir-Raviv-Rabin!

yitz said...

Here's the link:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4537127,00.html