This past Wednesday, Israel and Hezbollah completed a prisoner swap. The bodies of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were returned to their families in exchange for the release of five convicted terrorists and the bodies of 200 more Arab fighters. One of the terrorists released, Samir Kuntar, was serving four life sentences for a triple murder—which included smashing the skull of a four-year-old girl.

Jews worldwide joined their Israeli brethren in mourning these two heroes. But opinions were sharply divided as to the prudence of the exchange. A statement released by the IDF said that "while the release of terrorists is certainly sad, such a move demonstrates a compelling moral strength which stems from Judaism, Israeli social values and from the spirit of the Israel Defense Forces." Yes, there was a high price to pay, but, according to many, the IDF has a moral obligation to bring back to their families those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Others disagree. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, both of Israel's intelligence agencies, the Mossad and the Shin Bet, opposed Kantar's release—but were overruled by political considerations. Releasing terrorists poses a double threat to Israel's security. Firstly, the murderers who were released have every intention – and have clearly stated as much – to continue precisely where they left off before being apprehended. Secondly, such exchanges effectively turn every Israeli soldier into a bargaining chip, and provide Hezbollah and other terrorist groups with incentive to, G‑d forbid, kidnap more and more. Many people, myself included, think that although bringing back bodies is a priority of the highest order, the price is too high. And this argument is only amplified by the fact that  – as repeatedly noted by the international media – the exchange was so egregiously lopsided.  

My question is, what would Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev say about this development? They joined the army – following the example of millions of courageous others in Israel's history – fully cognizant of the mortal danger involved. To them it was an honor. As Jews they understood that if deemed necessary, there is no greater privilege than to protect the lives of their brothers and sisters—even if this means sacrificing everything.

These two heroes who gave their all for their brothers and sisters, how would they feel about this exchange? What would they say about a move that can potentially jeopardize those people they died in order to protect?