The funerals of two murdered Israeli POWs, Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, borne on the shoulders of 12 noncommissioned officers of the Israeli army’s Golani Brigade, concluded this stage of the 2006 Lebanon War.
The “killers for bodies” exchange likewise marked the beginning of a new stage, as the Israeli security establishment raised its preparedness level in case Hezbollah should try to avenge the killing of Hezbollah terror leader Imad Mughniyah.
The universal heroic reception of the convicted murderer Mr. Samir Kuntar, whom Israel traded for the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, caused media outlets throughout Israel to remind the public of the barbarity of what he did to the Haran family in 1979.
Mr. Kuntar’s Thursday proclamation that he had killed “Zionist enemies” were telecast into every living room in Israel after he received accolades from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stood on a platform next to Mr. Kuntar hurling curses at the Jews in Israel.
During Mr. Nasrallah’s verbal attacks, which occurred during Thursday’s funerals, it was hard not to perceive an unusual unity of purpose among Israelis.
Israelis from all walks of life expressed feelings of revulsion at Mr. Nasrallah and Mr. Kuntar, on talk shows, call-in programs, interviews on the street, with one theme that repeated itself all day: “We [in Israel] are not like them.”
This past week, the portion of the Bible that was read in synagogues throughout the Jewish world recalled the Moabite King Balak who hired Balaam to curse the Jews, yet he inadvertently caused them to unite in pride as a people.
A few hours after. Mr. Kuntar crossed the border and celebrated with his friends in Lebanon, he said he hoped to return to Israel as a “fighting martyr.”
A senior Israeli security official seemed ready to provide Mr. Kuntar with his wish, telling the Israeli media Mr. Kuntar’s new freedom from protection of Israel’s prison system is said to have made him marked for death.
“Samir Kuntar who was released yesterday in the framework of the deal with Hezbollah has become a target for killing,” the source said.
“Israel will get him, and he will be killed,” said the source, who hinted that the Israeli intelligence community would not rest until Mr Kuntar has been eliminated. “Now that he is out of jail, we have no obligation towards Mr Kuntar, a loathsome murderer with whom accounts will be settled to the end.”
A senior Israeli government official put it more succinctly, saying “in this generation, after so many generations when we could do nothing when people murdered Jewish children and were not punished, we cannot let this man think that he can go unpunished for his murder of a 4-year-old girl.”
This ran on the July 18th issue of the Bulletin in Philadelphia and can be accessed at: