Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Value of a Life: Is the life of Gilad Shalit worth more than the life of 1000 Arabs?

    I'm not willing to celebrate just yet, but it would appear that the long lost son of Israel Gilad Shalit is alive, if not well, and will soon be returned to us after five-plus long years in captivity. I myself, won't believe it until I see him home, safe and with his family.


    It should hardly shock anybody, but the deal to get Gilad Shalit back is rumored to include an exchange of 1000+ Arabs in Israeli prisons. This poses the obvious moral dilemma, which has been debated thoroughly. Specifically: letting dangerous criminals out of prison; sacrificing justice for victims of terror; and putting Israeli citizens at risk for kidnapping.

    However, there is another moral conundrum which has gone ignored for many years. When 100 Arab prisoners are exchanged for 1 Israel hostage, doesn't it implicitly devalue the lives of all Arabs? Doesn't it cast a shadow on those arguing for the Palestinian cause, when they point out (accurately) that more Arabs have died in this decades-old conflict than Israelis? This is of course ignoring that Israeli treatment of their prisoners has been far superior to the PA's treatment of its kidnapping victims.


    In any event, we should take a small solace in the fact that Aviva and Noam Shalit will be reunited with their son after too long a time. Maybe we will be able to see new photos of him in happier times.


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