In 2007, the Boston Celtics traded 5 players plus two draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves, in exchange for one Kevin Garnett, a former league MVP and perennial all-star. That’s seven young prospects – – enough to field an entire team with reserves – – in exchange for one established, if aging superstar. I can imagine how Garnett must have felt the day he first arrived at Celtic practice – – something akin to Julius Caesar returning from conquest. But, I wonder how the seven losers felt the day they arrived at camp. No surprise: you have never heard of any them. In a world where even the worst basketball player is 1000 times better than anyone you have ever met, each of these “talents” was roughly the basketball equivalent of one of Garnett’s limbs. I am sure the group of seven didn’t see it this way, but, to the world, their athletic value was a joke.
Today, a young Israeli soldier, held captive for 5 years by the terrorist group Hamas, was released in exchange for over 1000 Palestinians, held in Israeli prisons after being convicted of atrocities and other terrorist acts. 1000 for 1. I know management’s thinking. Shalit was worth the trade; He is just that important to the entire organization. But, why are the Palestinians celebrating? If you were to judge the images in the streets of Gaza today, you’d think they just got back the Michael Jordan of terrorists. But, guess what? These same militants were sent by their mommys, their daddys, their leaders, and their families to kill themselves on the streets of Israel, and to kill as many Jews along the way. They were sent to die. Their mothers, currently celebrating their return, never wanted them to come back in the first place. They prayed for a successful martyrdom. They literally hoped their children would die. I assume that their initial reaction to the original arrests was regret and grief – – over the failure of the mission. And now, these failures get to come home. Don’t let the dancing in the streets fool you: it is a bittersweet reunion. “We are happy to see you again, but why couldn’t you have successfully killed yourself while executing the will of Allah?”
Here’s one thing I know for certain. If I was one of the 7 Timberwolves, I would try my hardest to prove my value on the court. In the Jihadist world, that means that many of these dopey terrorists will be back on the battlefield determined to succeed.
Jews around the world, even those conflicted by the awful price, are collectively celebrating today. Gilad is alive and back on our team. There is only one reason: his life is more valuable to his people than a thousand terrorists. Than a million terrorists. His role was to defend life; not to take it; and certainly not to take his own life. His survival is a testament to his courage and bravery. But, it is also a badge of honor to his people, who value life above all else.
I don’t know much about politics and I am glad I never have to make decisions that impact an entire people. But, as I watch two very different celebrations in the streets of Gaza and Israel, one celebrating death and murder and the other honoring life and family, I am proud to be on this team.
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