Nov 29, 2009
Rav Shwartz: Releasing terrorists for Gilad Shalit
Rav Yisroel Schwartz is the dayan of Kehillas HaYeraim in Yerushalayim. Rav Schwartz lost his wife in a terrorist attack - the bus bombing of the Number 2 bus on Shmuel HaNavi street in 2003. Bechadrei went to Rav Schwartz to ask him his opinion on a possible deal to release terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit's freedom.
I sat with Rav Schwartz a few times in the past, and I know Rav Schwartz to be a very straight person with halachic considerations at his consideration at all times.
I know the halacha can be debated, and I understand both sides have valid points over whether or not terrorist murderers should be released. Also, I generally believe that while people who lost relatives have the right to, and should, voice their opinions about such things, the State has an obligation to not listen to them but to do what it feels is right. The families of the victims speak from an emotional position. The State has to do what it feels is right for the country - diplomatically, security, socially, etc. It has a lot more to take into consideration.
Rav Schwartz in the video interview supports releasing terrorists in exchange for Shalit. His main halachic argument is the "Bari V'Shema" argument. We know Shalit is in danger. We don't know for sure that the terrorists will do any more damage once released than they already do with these guys in jail. He says that they don't care about specific people - they educate their children to hate and kill us regardless of whether someone is released or not. So it is doubtful whether anything will change if they are released. Therefore, Rav Schwartz holds, it is incumbent upon us to release terrorists to make the exchange.
The video interview