Friday, July 10, 2015

Gag Order Lifted on Hamas Kidnappings

Michael L.

Writing in the Times of Israel, Avi Lewish, Judah Ari Gross, and Raphael Ahren tell us:
Avraham Mengistu, 28, of Ashkelon
Two Israeli men are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, including one who was captured in the Strip in September after he sneaked over the border fence for unknown reasons, it was cleared for publication Thursday.

The man who has been in Gaza since September was named as Avraham Mengistu, 28, of Ashkelon. The gag order on his case was lifted Thursday morning following a lawsuit from Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth. The name of the second man, a Bedouin who also apparently crossed the border of his own volition, was not released.
It should be noted that Hamas claims to have released Mengistu who they say made his way into the Sinai.  Furthermore, we do not even have the name of the young kidnapped Bedouin, although the Times of Israel reports that he is from the town of Hura.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said Israel was certain both men were in Gaza. “We have no doubt that they’re in Gaza. They have not gone anywhere elese,” Rivlin said Thursday morning, adding that Israel was seeking assistance for their speedy return as an act of “basic humanity.”
Whether or not these two individuals are still alive and within Hamas custody there are two things to note.  The first is that Israel will be blamed for not saving Mengistu because he is a black man.  The second is that this is already re-opening the Gilad Shalit debate.

Alleged Israeli Racism

This despite the fact that Israel is the only country on the planet that has moved large numbers of African people into the country not for reasons of exploitation, but for the purpose of welcoming them into the Israeli community.  Ethiopian Jewish integration into Israeli civil society has not been a smooth matter, but this hardly surprising.  The very sight of a McDonald's in Tel Aviv would have been disorienting to a people who in the flash of a moment went from a highly traditional, poor rural culture to one of the most vibrant and culturally dynamic cities in the world.

In fact, if you read the comments beneath the Times of Israel article linked to above you will already see one small example:
Marco Manila

if he was an ashkenazi they will rescue him , but this guy is negro  
The truth, of course, is that Israel is the least "racist" country in the entire Middle East and one of the most diverse and inclusive countries on the entire planet.  Jews cannot live as Jews in Saudi Arabia.  We may not purchase land, as a matter of law, in Jordan.  Yet on college campuses throughout the United States students are encouraged by hostile anti-Zionist professors, like Rabab Abdulhadi at San Francisco State University, to think of the lone, sole Jewish state as a racist monstrosity.

The Shalit Debate 

gilad 620 2030196bWhen Gilad Shalit was finally released from his Hamas dungeon - looking gaunt and pale and like nothing so much as an Auschwitz survivor - Jewish Israelis were ecstatic.  From what I am told, virtually the entire country came together as one in celebration of Gilad's freedom and in welcoming him back home.

That welcoming, however, came at a ridiculous cost.  In order to secure Shalit's freedom Hamas demanded the release of 1,027 "Palestinian security prisoners" as David Horovitz calls them over at the Times of Israel.

Horovitz, the editor-in-chief of that newspaper, has an article entitled, Israel cannot countenance another Shalit deal.  He writes:
It should have been clear at the time, and it is undoubtedly clearer now, that the Shalit deal was a mistake. For all the profound empathy with the captured soldier and his family — for all that every other Israeli family saw him as their potential son, their potential kidnap victim, on whose behalf they would shout from every rooftop to demand that any price be paid for his release — the cost was unconscionable. In the starkest terms, the brutal, grisly fact is that many more Israelis have died and will die because of the price that Israel so humanely paid to ensure that Gilad Shalit came home.
I felt bad for Gilad Shalit when he was sitting in whatever Hamas hell-hole that they kept him in in Gaza, but to be at the center of a national debate in which people argue about whether or not your release was worth it to the country must be excruciating in its own special way.

Ultimately however - and with all apologies to Gilad and his family - Horovitz is right.

In the United States, as up until recently a lifelong Democrat, I opposed the death penalty.  However, Israel is in an entirely different situation and it simply cannot continue with this merry-go-round of terrorist capture-and-release.  Israel needs capital punishment for murder and life imprisonment, with no possibility for release, for attempted murder.  {That, by the way, should include throwing rocks at moving vehicles which has, in fact, resulted in the death of any number of people over the years.}

Instead of releasing terrorists from Israeli prisons because Hamas managed to snatch a couple of Israelis, why not make Hamas pay in an exceedingly painful way for the kidnapping, itself?

Sitting upon my little perch in the Oakland hills, I am in no position to make specific recommendations about just what kind of punishment Hamas should receive when they harm Israeli citizens, but I have no doubt that the IDF is just chock-full of creative people who would have all sorts of interesting ideas on the matter.


  1. Very curious how Horovitz opined back when Shalit was still being held. His 20/20 hindsight sounds pretty good, but what was he saying back then? Anybody know?
    I ask because personally I am very disappointed in the direction he's taken the Times.

    1. Heya man,

      you're disappointed in the direction that Horovitz has taken the TOI?

      I do not participate there anymore, but only because they brought on so many bloggers that any individual contribution - unless it got promoted - would fall off the screen entirely within short order. I began to feel that it was not worth my time.

      But, my sense of Horovitz is that he a decent and intelligent man. I respect the guy and I believe that he is a moderate.

      So, when you say that you are disappointed in the direction that he has taken the newspaper, what do you mean?

      And thanks for dropping in.

      I am always welcoming of new voices around this small joint.

    2. I ask because now he says it was a terrible deal, which it was......but I can imagine that back before Gilad was released he was amongst the crowd clamoring to do whatever it took to free him. Hence my 20/20 hindsight comment.
      I had high hopes for him when he split from the JP and started the Times, but from my POV he has slowly (or not so slowly) moved his paper leftward.
      To much for me at least. I don't even know what "moderate" means anymore.
      I've been reading here for quite some time, and we are of like mind on most things. Short background: I raised my kids on the Golan, which is where I served as well (when I wasn't "vacationing" courtesy of tsahal to the north).
      Now I have 11 grandkids around Israel, my youngest grandson just finished officers course.
      Anyway, keep up the great work achi.

    3. BTW, regardless of his political lean, I too think he's a decent and intelligent guy.

  2. Tell the US State Department we can appease Hamas on the day they release Jon Pollard from prison. If they have a problem with that, then all terrorists that Hamas demands be released can only be released to the custody of the US on US soil for the US to do with however they like as long as they are never repatriated to Israel under pain of death. If that means that 200 mass murderers have to stay locked up in the US embassy or sent to live in Vienna or Zurich or Brussels, that's on them.