Your editorial on the Shalit trade asserts, correctly I believe, that asking “What would you do if it was your child?” was the wrong question. You then say that “the only question that matters” is asking “How many Jewish lives are you willing to trade for one Jewish life?” While that question does, of course, matter a great deal, it too, standing alone, is the wrong question. Rather, the right question is this: Was the trade, on balance, good for the State of Israel and its citizens?
Answering that question must take into account the answers to your “right” and “wrong” questions. But there are other issues that also must be carefully considered and weighed; for example – and this is not a comprehensive list – How would the trade, or lack of a trade, affect the morale of IDF soldiers and, importantly, their parents? Fit in with the ethos of a Jewish state? Impact on Israel’s relationships with its allies and enemies?
Moreover, it is primarily those whose lives – whether as front-line soldiers or bus passengers – are directly affected by this decision who should be doing that considering and weighing; not those of us living safely on the west bank – of the Hudson River, that is. We should be much more modest when participating in a discussion of such life-and-death issues. Concluding, as you did, that the trade was “a bad deal overall” is a conclusion that should be left to the citizens of Israel.