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When Doing The Wrong Thing Is The Right Thing

This past week Israel completed a controversial prisioner exchange.

Five "healthy" terrorists were exchanged for the remains of two Israeli soldiers. It was a controversial exchange because most agree that it will encourage more abductions and hostage taking by the terrorists.

And this is also my opinion. However there is another side to this coin. We cannot but grieve and be in solidarity with the families who suffer.

There is an important truth that has been demonstrated to the world:

Israel values their dead more than Israel's enemies value their living.

Israeli pastor Ron Cantor shares his thoughts below.

From Pastor Cantor's website Messiah's Mandate:

When Doing the Wrong thing is Right
Israel Completes Controversial Prisoner Swap

I have been against this from the beginning—the idea of swapping Israeli soldiers for terrorists and murderers. If you negotiate with terrorists, you encourage them. You are in essence saying that if you want something from us, terror is an effective way to get it.

Two days ago Israel handed over five terrorists, including a notorious cold-blooded killer, Samir Kuntar, and the remains of 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters. Israel received the dead bodies of two soldiers in exchange. In Hebrew the word for body and dead body are extremely close: goof and goofa. Yet in reality the difference could not be greater

Samir Kuntar
At the age of 16 Kuntar and his fellow terrorists killed a policeman and entered an apartment building in northern Israel, took a father, Danny Haran, 28, and his four-year-old child, Einat, hostage. The wife, Smadar, hid in a small space with their two- year old daughter. Trying to muffle the child's cries, Smadar accidentally smothered their child to death. While more police were arriving at the scene, the terrorists pulled Danny and Einat to the beach where Kuntar shot Danny at close range and threw him into the sea. Kuntar then killed Einat by crushing her head on the rocks with the butt of his rifle. 

...Hizbullah has prepared a national celebration for their hero who has never shown any remorse and has publicly vowed to return to fight in the jihad against Israel. A Palestinian newspaper calls Kuntar "a beacon of light" and an "authentic role model."
(Maoz Israel Prayer Letter

For these two reasons I was against the exchange: 1) I don’t want to encourage terrorists to kidnap Israelis (of which I am one!) and 2) it was not a fair exchange.

However, two days ago that all changed for me. We were in our chug hallel (Hebrew-speaking worship home group) on the night after the exchange when one of the worshippers began to pray for the families of the fallen soldiers. She prayed with deep emotion and empathy. As I agreed with her I felt the Lord speak to me.

I will bless Israel. For you value the bodies of fallen soldiers more than they value their living ones. Because Israel is doing the unwise thing for the right reason I will look down from heaven and protect her.

No one in Israel argues that this was a foolish thing to do. What many Israelis have argued about the last few weeks is whether or not this foolish act is actually a righteous act. At the end of the day our nation said, “Yes, it does encourage the terrorists…yes, it does make us the losers in the Lebanon War…yes, it turns Nasrallah into a hero and his group, Hezbollah, into giant killers…no, it is not a fair exchange… but yes, we still must do it.They have found our weakness—we are not barbarians—we put value on human life, and even death.

In the several wars that we have fought since 1948 many Israeli soldiers have lost their lives seeking to retrieve the dead bodies of other soldiers in the midst of battle. And here is where my faith is—that God Almighty, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, will look down from heaven and protect us because of virtues like that.

When I received that word two nights ago it brought deep peace into my spirit. We live in the Middle East. Virtually every other nation here would like us to die. That can be unsettling. Sometimes I find myself driving through Tel Aviv looking at the skyscrapers, wondering if today could be the day one comes down in the midst of yet another terror attack. But then, God’s word says, “The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Ps. 121) That brings me more comfort than all the peace agreements and treaties that the UN can offer us.

I am not saying that we are a righteous nation. Israel has many problems. There are two porn shops right next to our congregational building. One of our most famous singers is a transsexual. There was a gay pride parade in Jerusalem just a few weeks ago. However, what I am saying is that Israel is one of the most humane countries on earth, if not the most—and that means something to the Lord. The funny thing is that most of the world is convinced of the opposite: That we are heartless oppressors. What other nations would allow a neighbor to send hundreds of rockets against her (Gaza/Sderot) and hardly respond? Who? Not the US. Not China. Certainly not Russia.

I am also not saying that we did this because we “can’t be like the terrorists.” Sometimes you have to answer a terrorist like a terrorist. I would get no joy out of torturing another human being no matter how despicable he is, but if my family’s life is in danger, and we have a terrorist with information in custody—we’ll, you get my point. There is a passage in proverbs that reads:

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

In other words, there is a time to respond to a fool to shut him up (or to get information from him concerning forthcoming terror attacks), and a time to ignore a fool so you don’t become like him. This was one of those times. We ignored the inevitable elevation of Hezbollah in the eyes of the Islamo-fascist world to get our boys back. And my dear friend, this does show the difference. Islamic leaders will send out their children to be killed, shoot rockets from civilian-populated neighborhoods and rejoice over a prisoner exchange while forgetting the 1,000 plus dead Lebanese that came in the aftermath of the kidnapping.

How about the young Palestinian boy, Mohamed al Dura, who was shot by his Palestinian leaders because they thought that Israel would be blamed for the callous killing. (Israel was, and still is, blamed around the Arab world despite evidence to the contrary: Israelis value their dead more than radical Muslims value their living!

Even the released terrorist, Kuntar, sees the difference:

“I'm jealous of the Zionists, who don't spare any effort in bringing back captured soldiers or soldiers' bodies,” convicted killer Samir Kuntar, who was released Wednesday in Israel's prisoner swap with Hizbullah, told the group's Al Manar TV on Thursday night. “Seriously, we are jealous of our enemy and its care for a corpse and how it goes to the end of the world in order to return it, and of its concerns for captives and how it will go to the very edge to bring them back,” he said. (

Committed to the Messiah’s Mandate (Matt. 10:6-8),

Ron Cantor


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