JERUSALEM, Israel -- With the lopsided prisoner exchange -- one Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinian Arabs serving time for terror-related crimes -- less than 24 hours away, families of terror victims presented their petitions to the High Court Monday. Others voiced their objections in blogs and op-ed pieces.
On Sunday evening, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Col. Benny Gantz presented the IDF's plan for Tuesday's prisoner exchange to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. To read the details of the release, click here.
There's no doubt the dissenters have historical facts on their side. In the past, released terrorists almost always picked up where they left off -- and the seemingly inevitable result has always been more death, more carnage.
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Three out of 29 cabinet ministers voted against the swap: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
"From experience, we know that the terrorists' release will lead to the murder of dozens and maybe hundreds of Israelis," Ya'alon, a former IDF chief of staff, told ministers the day of the vote.
For some, it's a matter of perspective.
During his tenure, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin repeatedly advised the government against releasing terror prisoners, as did Meir Dagan, former head of the Mossad, Israel's secret service.
But current Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen and Mossad chief Tamir Pardo believe Israel's government, defense forces and intelligence community are resolute enough to handle whatever comes down the pike.
The inevitable risks notwithstanding, the latest Yediot-Ahronot/Dahaf Institute poll showed a whopping majority of Israelis -- 79 percent -- in favor of the swap.
That's because the sanctity of life is built into Jewish thinking.
The Talmud -- a collection of rabbinic discussions on Judaism's oral traditions -- says that "he who saves a life is as if he saves an entire universe."
So despite the heartache of issuing pardons for prisoners who have shown little or no remorse for murdering innocent people, most Israelis will breathe a sigh of relief when Gilad Shalit is back on Israeli soil.