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Israel's honor, and its grief

July 21, 2008

Re "Deaths confirmed, Israel weeps as one," July 17

Hezbollah's depravity and Israel's fundamental decency were on full display last week.

It's hard to watch Lebanon's leadership accord heroes' welcomes to Samir Kuntar and his Hezbollah compatriots. Kuntar is not, as his supporters claim, "the conscience of Lebanon, Palestine and the Arab nation," but a brutal, mass-murdering thug. Kuntar will be forgotten soon.

I doubt Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser will be so easily forgotten. Goldwasser and Regev are the real heroes. They are home two long years after they were killed in battle. Israel paid a heavy price, not just in their deaths but to return them home.

I am proud that Israel goes to such lengths to redeem its captives, and pray that their families can begin to heal. Painful as it was, Israel made the right choice. Israel will move on, and so will we.

Steve Lipman

Foster City, Calif.

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The Times ignores another emotion that's prevalent in many Israelis: anger.

We're angry that the government yet again pandered to short-term popularity by satisfying a loud minority.

We're angry that the government has now condemned even more soldiers to the fates of Regev and Goldwasser.

We're angry that Ehud Olmert and the Cabinet told terrorists that, not only is kidnapping a successful tool, they don't even have to keep the hostages alive.

David Teich

Rehovot, Israel

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If this exchange proves anything, it demonstrates that Israel, despite horrific crimes committed against its citizens by terrorist murderers, still treats its prisoners humanely. Hezbollah apparently kills those it takes hostage. Then they welcome back a child-killer and cheer him on like a rock star.

Israel has respect for human life. Its enemies do not. If the photos in The Times cannot convince you of that, I do not know what will.

Jeffrey L. Hoffer

Westlake Village

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