Realizing that Israel cannot be defeated in the battlefield, the Arab nations have abandoned the use of conventional wars to eliminate the State of Israel and have employed terror as a preferred method of destroying Israel from within. Terror has emerged as a strategic threat for Israel and should be responded to with the same perseverance and gravity that existential threats warrant. The release of 1,027 convicted terrorists in exchange for the kidnapped soldier Gilead Schalit arises from a misguided moral dilemma that puts a premium on one life yet endangers the lives of many others; the enormity of this moral dilemma should bring the Israeli public to demand of our leaders that in cases of terrorists committing premeditated mass murder and terrorism capital punishment should be invoked.

Watching the released terrorists and murderers being welcomed in their villages, it was impossible to ignore the joyous celebration that accompanied their return. The internal Jewish debate raging in Israel about the price of Schalit’s release has tended to overshadow the more important story of how the Arabs living among us continue to use "Palestinian culture" as a calling card in which the shedding of Jewish blood is a prerequisite for both heroism and political credibility. The Arab celebration of murder and barbaric behavior has made it all too apparent that peace is an unreachable goal in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the strengthening of Hamas by their “achievement” in successfully reaping the benefits of kidnapping has further strengthened the appeal of violence for all Arabs against Israel. Almost immediately we have been inundated with media reports reaffirming a false narrative that legitimizes Hamas as a peace partner, and that Israel open talks with the terrorist group. By invoking the death penalty, we can lessen the perceived benefits and sense of "victory" from the shedding of Jewish blood.

Reports emanating from the White House, the State Department, and from European capitals have praised the deal as a step forward towards "peace negotiations". The world, it seems, as Gil Troy has written recently wants Israel to be a defenseless Jewish state. A defenseless Jewish state would not incarcerate those responsible for mass murderers at a Sbarro pizzeria or a Passover Seder. A defenseless Jewish state would not risk the lives of Egyptian soldiers, even if it meant not firing at Palestinian terrorist attackers. A defenseless Jewish state would not retaliate against the Hamas terrorists ruling Gaza. A defenseless Jewish state would not object to Mahmoud Abbas bypassing the compromises negotiations seeking yet another biased, inflammatory UN declaration. A defenseless Jewish state would not inconvenience the Arab world’s liberal leftist appeasers and useful idiots. Instituting the death penalty would provide the most effective deterrence and reject the demand of Israel being singled out by the world to refrain from executing convicted terrorists and murderers.

In line with this mindset, the Schalit's family's successful public relations campaign forced the Israeli government to capitulate by circumventing due process and Israel's court system. The Lopsided release of Schalit makes a mockery of the Israeli justice system, and we should say this loudly and clearly: From now on there is no significance whatsoever to Israel’s legal establishment rulings regarding Israeli Arab citizens. For Israeli Arabs to be released in clear disregard of due process the message is clear; Israeli law does not apply to Arabs. Only by invoking the death penalty can Israel ensure that Arab terrorists be held accountable for their murderous behavior making any future trade-offs and early release impossible.

It should be eminently clear that to circumvent due legal process and to grant clemency to Arab murderers and other convicted Arab terrorists will produce an additional loss of public faith in the justice system, which is a pillar of any democratic society. Without popular confidence in the justice system, future terror and the ensuing response by vigilantism will become viable alternatives. One of the central purposes of the criminal justice system is for the state to wrest responsibility for serving justice out of the hands of the injured party. But if the state repeatedly demonstrates that it cannot be trusted to mete out justice, individuals are liable to begin to do so themselves.  Instituting the death penalty would circumvent this intervention and leave the decisions handed down by the courts in response to wanton acts of terror and murder as final and impervious to political intervention.

As noted by Stewart Weiss, director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana, in comments published at JPost.com; Judaism, and Jewish history, are an amalgam of glory and grief, celebration and sadness. Remembrance Day and Independence Day are rolled into one. Yizkor memorial prayers are recited on Simchat Torah. The breaking of a glass punctuates a joyous wedding celebration; bitter herbs and salt water are a part of our Passover Seder. Blessing and bitterness, it appears, always seems to operate in tandem. So it is with the Schalit deal. While we save a precious life and return joy to his family, we will be risking many more lives, while sacrificing some of the most fundamental principles of Israeli judicial rulings, held sacrosanct since the founding of the state.

Now is the time to enforce the death penalty, the brutal and beastly convicted Arab murderers of the Fogel family from the community of Itamar can and should pass this judicial litmus test and be sentenced the death penalty.

2011 Articles