Wednesday October 14, 2015
Israel Hayom
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Nadav Shragai

Free construction, not terrorists

The news about renewed building in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem is good news. The news about the next wave of releasing wretched murderers is not. The link that was created between the two is problematic, to say the least -- a depressive flaw in values. Have we reached a new era where we trade one terrorist for one apartment? Fifty terrorists for a whole neighborhood?

It is forbidden to free murderous terrorists. Period. They relapse, returning to kill us, sowing the seeds of slaughter in our streets. That's how it was, how it is, and, unfortunately, how it appears it will always be. This was proven in the recent and distant past. Once bitten, twice shy. It's unclear why we haven't learned our lesson. These are facts. We are not lacking examples. There's no point repeating the very same mistakes. The current releases are even more intolerable because they are happening after the recent string of terrorist attacks. A release such as this, specifically after a wave of terror, adds fuel to the fire of terrorism, increasingly propping it up, torpedoing peace efforts and the diplomatic process rather than bringing peace closer. The fact that the very purpose of this round of releases is simply to keep the Palestinians in the room with us, to be so kind as to continue the conversation, adds insult to injury.

The second issue here is not related to the first, and it is forbidden to connect the two. We must continue to build in Jerusalem and Zion, because settlement and developing the land are the lifeblood of Zionism, the cornerstone and very foundations. The link between releasing terrorists and building in the land of Israel is like mixing the impure with that which is holy. The Zionist narrative has known its fair share of settlement activities born in peril, terrorist attacks and war. The map of Israel is covered with hundreds of towns and neighborhoods established as monuments to civilians, soldiers and heroes who fell in war and terror. We found comfort after mourning building settlement after settlement. We saw how the Zionist reaction was appropriate, leaving one eye crying while the other laughed. As it says in the book of Jeremiah, even at "the time of Jacob’s trouble," facing his obstacle, "he will be saved" (Jeremiah 30:7). Our consolation is developing the land.

But we never intended for salvation to be born of sin. We never accepted the method of "sacred sin" (commandments based on transgression, not included in the Torah but rather the oral tradition). The fact that we prop building in the land of Israel and Jerusalem on the crooked foundation of freeing murderous terrorists who could turn around and kill us is a moral distortion, a crooked formula. We could argue about trading captives for terrorists. But to talk about deals or understandings, even informal ones, where we "free construction" for releasing murderous terrorists?

Better we say thanks but no thanks. Better to wait on construction until we have the courage, until we are capable of managing without this problematic and unsound nexus; until we have the strength to stand on our own two feet facing the United States and President Barack Obama, explaining that this is our land -- the land of Zion and Jerusalem, built without conditions, links or restrictions.

Our ancestors did permit "sacred sin," but only if they could identify the benefit. Freeing terrorists is an offense that will cause clear and tangible damage to the public, actually endangering lives. Even building in Jerusalem could not remove that stain. On the contrary, it will also be stained by it. For this reason, Israel must continue to build disconnected from any stipulations, without being subject to any conditions. We cannot free murderous terrorists while maintaining our own link to the land and following the ancient verse: "You shall watch over yourselves carefully" (Deuteronomy 4:15).

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