Sunday, July 27, 2008

Death Penalty for Terrorists- A Voice Says Yes

Discussion in Israel regarding the release of murderer Sami Kuntar continues. One little known fact about the Israel prison system is that it allows prisoners, even those who have committed heinous crimes, such as Sami Kuntar, are allowed conjugal visits, continuing education and other life improving experiences. In Kuntar's case, he enjoyed conjugal visits and fathered a child.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Sara Honig, believes the time has come for the Israeli justice system to adopt the death penalty in cases such as Kuntar. Countering the argument that the government must have prisoners to swap or it will endanger the lives of Israelis who fall hostage to terrorists in the future, Mrs. Honig writes:

"Many in our midst will of course regurgitate the questionable claim that by imposing capital punishment we might imperil captured Israelis, whom vengeful unbridled enemies will readily kill. But the greater likelihood is that by contracting the sort of deal whereby living Kuntars are swapped for corpses, we eliminate the last enemy incentive to keep abductees alive."

I think Mrs. Honig is onto something here. Now the question is, how will Israel respond?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boteach Asks- Is It Time For The Death Penalty for Terrorists?

Best selling author and tv personality Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says, "it is time that we articulate what few wish to, namely, that Israel must finally institute a death penalty for convicted terrorists. "

Looking at the recent release of terrorist and child killer Sami Kuntar, Boteach believes

There are times when a country must temporarily violate a principle to ensure it is upheld. Police cars speed to catch those who themselves speed on highways, thereby endangering other motorists. Surgeons cut open people's chests with knives to save their blocked arteries and stopped hearts. And just governments must sometimes take the lives of unrepentant terrorist mass-murderers to protect and uphold the infinite value of human life.

You can read his comments in the Jerusalem Post.

What do I think? Maybe Rabbi Boteach has a point. Killers such as Sami Kuntar are "martyrs" to their supporters whether they die in the attack or live long years afterwards in prison. But Judaism has always frowned on the death penalty and it is significant to note that Israel applies it only in the case of "crimes against humanity" such as participating in the murders of the Holocaust. Perhaps civilized society does need to weed itself of the most uncivilized among us.

Friday, July 18, 2008

When Mistakes Are Worth Making

Daniel Gordis offers his explanation as to the need for Israel to make the exchange of a murderer and other terrorists for the remains of two dead Israeli army reservists. It was a mistake:
But if it was a mistake, it was a calculated mistake, a mistake well worth making. It was a mistake worth making when we think about what is the real challenge facing Israel. The challenge facing Israel isn't to win the war against the Palestinians. The war can't be won. We can't eradicate them, and they won't accept our being here. The challenge that Israel faces is not to move towards peace. Peace can't be had. No - the challenge facing Israel is to learn how to live in perpetual, never-ending war, and in the face of that, to flourish, and to be a country that our kids still want to defend. And that is what we did this week.

Read When Mistakes Are Worth Making. It will move you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On the Pro Side for Prisoner Releases

Chezi Shay was a captive of the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from 1982 to 1985. He, therefore, writes for the JTA about the need for Israel to do whatever it must to obtain the release of its soldiers.

I am glad that the swap is taking place and that the Goldwasser and Regev families can rest.
When, heaven forbid, a soldier dies, army officials knock on the door and inform the family of the terrible news.
Here we have two families who for two years have been facing a terrible situation, waiting for that knock on the door.
Therefore, we had to do everything in order to end the distress they were facing.

Father of a Terror Victim Comments on the Prisoner Release

I have never met Ron Kehrmann but we have something in common--our daughters were murdered by terrorists.

He has written an Op-Ed distributed by the JTA in which he expresses his belief that more kidnappings will result from the exchange of terrorists, alive and dead, for two dead Israeli Army reservists.

He writes,
The mass release of murderous terrorists teaches that terror is the way to victory. But we need to show that only honest negotiations will bring peace. Then Israeli and Arab children will have a better future, and not lose their lives as a result of senseless, hate-driven acts of violence.

Exchanging the Dead for the Alive

The news today is full of stories pertaining to the exchange between Israel and Hezbullah of the bodies of two Israeli reservists, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, for murderer Sami Kuntar, several other terrorists, and the bodies of terrorists killed in action by Israel. It's a sad day for the Regev and Goldwasser families as well as the families of terror victims in Israel and worldwide.

The Jerusalem Post discusses the sadness of the exchange and the wasted opportunities between Israel and its enemies as depicted in photographs and in the celebrations to be held by Hezbullah and similar thinking parties throughout the Middle East and, quite possibly, on some streets in the United States.

The answer to the question whether such exchanges are foolish or worthwhile will come sooner than later.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Profiling Arising from the Ashes? FBI adopting new teror strategy

Civil libertarians and the so-called Muslim "defense" groups are going to have a stroke or heart attack when they read The New York Sun report that the FBI is considering race profiling as it probes terrorist activities.

"Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons — like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated — to investigate American citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

"Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person's race or ethnicity."

It will only be a short while before we hear the reaction, sure to be quite loud, to the FBI's proposal. Time will tell if it will work.