Israel once again finds itself faced with a moral dilemma -- trying to maintain a qualitative military edge while staying true to the tenets of Jewish law. Unfortunately, they do not go hand in hand.
Jewish law literally pulls rank. The notion that no soldier is to be left behind is an Israel Defense Force dogma that's ingrained at all levels of the military and society.
However, when Israeli soldiers are kidnapped by radical Islamist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel can be blackmailed because of its desire to bring Jewish soldiers home dead or alive.
IDF soldiers missing in action have always been a serious sticking point since the establishment of the modern State of Israel, as they force Israel to deal directly with terror groups, thereby giving such groups more credence than they deserve.
For almost two years now, the Jewish community has been following the tragic story of three kidnapped soldiers.
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were abducted during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006 on Israel's northern border; and just a few weeks prior to the commission of this particular crime, another Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit -- just a teenager at the time -- was taken hostage by Hamas on the southern border of Israel.
We should not forget that the capturing of these young soldiers was the impetus for Israel going to war to begin with.
In the aftermath of these terrorist acts, tension and violence has escalated among Israelis and Palestinians, and among Palestinians and Palestinians.
Why Broker a Deal?
Enter Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese PLO member who was sentenced to four life sentences for the heinous crime of murdering the Haran family and two police officers in 1979, during a terror attack on the northern city of Nahariya.
Kuntar has now been put on the negotiating table by Israel for the possible exchange of Regev and Goldwasser, whom, government officials have said, are probably dead.
Kuntar has sworn that he will continue his evil ways until a "full victory" is reached for the Palestinian people.
What is missing from this picture?
What is the rationale for making such a choice?
Why does Israel broker such a deal, knowing that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization?
These negotiations enable this nonstate actor to act as a legitimate player maneuvering in the name of its "citizens."
This only allows for the expansion of the area known, in analyst Eyal Zisser's words, as "Hezbollahland," a "territory in south Lebanon over which it has complete control."
Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has never been shy about expressing his views. He hopes to displace "the Zionist Jews" from their "occupation of Palestine."
They were supported in this "aggression and organized terrorism," he insists, by the United States.
Israel's risky, short-term gamble with yet another prisoner exchange is devastating from a strategic military perspective.
Israel does not increase its deterrence, but only increases Hezbollah's network of support by recycling known radicals into the growing jihadi pool.
Moreover, Israel is left with no guarantees that such kidnappings will stop.
In fact, the situation has proven quite the contrary.
Nasrallah continues to state publically that he and his followers are "ready to kidnap more Israeli soldiers, if the need arises."
What more do Palestinians need to hear in order to conclude that this method is the preferred way of doing business with Israel?
Asaf Romirowsky is the manager of Israel & Middle East Affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.