Friday August 1, 2014
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01.08.2014
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Yossi Tzur

We fought hard, and lost with dignity

The struggle by bereaved families against the release of terrorists from prison ended in failure, again. The releases have been going ahead as planned, the High Court of Justice has not interfered and the government is not willing to deliberate the issue any further, plowing ahead toward releasing the fourth and final batch of prisoners. If the nation does not wake up and join the struggle, it cannot complain afterward when it pays the price for inertia.

When petitions were filed at the High Court of Justice against the release of terrorists in return for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, we marched brandishing white flags from the memorial for victims slain in acts of terror on Mount Herzl all the way to the Supreme Court. Dozens of hurting families, who could not remain at home stewing in silence, chose to protest the Israeli government's capitulation to Hamas. We lost the battle; the terrorist were released. Several relapsed to terrorism and were arrested again. Others drive the engine of terrorism in Judea and Samaria from their homes in the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, we held a black-umbrella march, passing the U.S. consulate -- indeed, the Americans have ushered these terrorists from their cells -- and making our way toward Hasharsheret (Chain) Street in the Old City, the home of one of the prisoners slated for release. The first stop symbolized the government's lack of foresight. The black umbrellas represented former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was proud of his agreement with the Nazis, which ultimately paved the way for the outbreak of World War II. Demonstrating outside the terrorist's home in Jerusalem's Old City was a symbol of the fact that Israeli security has been jeopardized with these prisoners' release.

Twenty-six prisoners were released overnight despite our protests. All that is left for these families is the recurrent pain and open wounds, which rupture further in every protest and demonstration. A lot of people say that there is no point, that nothing will change the government's opinion, or the mind of its cynical prime minister. I certainly don't agree with these people, but I can definitely empathize. I also suffer moments of weakness. Sometimes, I also want to throw up my hands and give up this seemingly useless struggle.

The best analogy I can come up with, despite how different these subjects are, is soccer. When our teams try to compete in the Olympics or get into the World Cup, sportscasters always proclaim: "We played well, and we lost with dignity."

We also fought hard, and lost with dignity. We demonstrated in Tel Aviv outside the Defense Ministry. We erected a protest tent outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. We appeared on every possible news outlet. We appealed to the High Court of Justice. We held the black-umbrella march and demonstrated outside the home of one of the terrorists slated for release. We did everything, and despite it all, we need to gather ourselves up and prepare for the next battle, because the issue lives and breathes in us.

Make no mistake, bereaved families are not the only losers in this struggle. All of Israel will suffer the loss when terrorists strike again, adding more families to the list. Today, Israeli families sit at home watching television and pitying the bereaved. But if they don't join us to stop the fourth and worst release, tomorrow they'll be marching at the front of the line.

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