Remembering Ehud and Eldad
The road of statesmanship is paved with bitter choices. But few are more difficult and soul-searching than the recent decision of the Government of Israel to release five Lebanese prisoners and return 199 bodies of Lebanese fighters in exchange for the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped from Israel by the terrorist group Hezbollah in 2006.
How does one weigh the grief of two victimized families and of all Israelis, who had clung to hope that there was hope? How does one weigh that pain against the release of Samir Kantar, a hateful murderer who smashed the head of an innocent four year-old girl? How can Israel’s pledge to return every lost soldier, dead or alive, be weighed against the cost of commuting a sentence of five hundred years to 19 years of incarceration already served?
This was not an easy choice. It was the kind of choice that keeps you up awake in the little hours of the morning. But the decision of the Government of Israel to choose compassion and spare the two families continued torment about the fate of their sons shows leadership, because it takes leadership to choose. Clearly, this is not a one-sided decision and the cost is high.
But isn’t it better to err on the side of humanity? Israel’s decision stands in stark contrast to the unspeakable spectacle of jubilation and triumph that we saw in Lebanon. When Israelis are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to recover their fallen, they reaffirm, in a powerful way, Israel’s commitment-to and love-of life. When Palestinians celebrate the return of a man like Samir Kantar, they showcase, in a damning way, a culture that glorifies death and murder. Now is the time to grieve and to remember Ehud and Eldad; to come together in solidarity with their families and with the Israeli public as they seek closure to this protracted and painful ordeal.
We, along with other members of Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel, have had the privilege of meeting with the families of the abducted soldiers when they visited Parliament Hill in the past. We met them to convey our solidarity and our concern for the well-being of their sons. We saw their hopes, but could only guess at their pain. Now, we offer our heartfelt condolences to them and to all those aggrieved by the cowardly abduction and murder of these two promising young men. If you want to convey your condolences to Ehud’s and Eldad’s families, you can add your names to the electronic book of condolences set up by the Canada-Israel Committee on line at
We cannot take away the loss. But we can let them know that they are not alone and that we will remember.
Marlene Jennings, MP (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Lachine) and Anita Neville, MP (Winnipeg South Centre)