God bless Gilad Shavit. God willing, may he soon be reunited with his family. May he marry, have children, build a bayit neeman, a faithful house, in Israel. May he prosper and live until 120 years.
That having been said, is Israel paying too high a price for his freedom? Reportedly, Israel will release some 1000 Palestinian Arab prisoners from Israeli jails, many of whom are serving time for murder, and some of them for multiple murders. The Israeli victims were mostly civilians, non-combatants, including women and small children. The perpetrators committed the killings deliberately, and in cold blood. Corporal Gilad Shalit, in contrast, was guilty only of being captured by Hamas thugs while on patrol duty in Israel.
This afternoon, Dennis Prager, speaking on the Hugh Hewitt Show, said that he feared that the Israeli government was making a huge mistake. John R. Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, expressed a similar opinion.
Yes, it is a religious obligation in Judaism to ransom Jewish captives. However, it is also the halacha, Jewish law, that one does not pay too exorbinant a ransom price, lest the ransom encourage more kidnappings of Jews.
Someone, and it may have been Dennis Prager, once said that if he were Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, he would put unrelenting pressure on the Israeli government to pay whatever price was necessary to free his son; but that if he were an Israeli citizen, he would hope that the Israeli Prime Minister had sufficient moral strength to look Noam Shalit in the eye and say, "No, the price is too high."
May God erase from human memory those wicked persons whose evil deeds compel such a difficult choice.