Avihai Rontzki says can understand bereaved family members who would want to avenge Palestinian prisoners released in the prisoner swap agreement, adding ‘a normal country would destroy them.’
The Israel Defense Forces’ former chief Rabbi criticized a prisoner swap deal that is due to set abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit free, saying on Monday that Israeli soldiers should from now on “kill terrorists in their beds.”
Public debate over the Shalit swap deal has been raging in Israel ever since the Israel-Hamas agreement was revealed, with the expected release of hundreds of Palestinian terrorists who are responsible for numerous attacks on Israeli citizens.
Referring to the deal, due to take place on Tuesday, former Chief Military Rabbi Avihai Rontzki said in an interview to Arutz Sheva that IDF soldiers should no longer arrest terror suspects, instead urging them to “kill them in their beds.”
“A lot of cases shouldn’t even reach court,” Rontzki said, saying that the army should instead rely on the “wisdom of commanders and fighters.”
“When you arrive to arrest terrorists like the murderers of the Fogel family, they should just be shot, exterminated. They were terrorists that murdered people and should be killed in their beds,” the former chief IDF rabbi said.
Rontzki also referred to the possibility that family members of those killed in attacks would wish to avenge those who were released in the Shalit deal, saying: “I’m not calling for vengeance or anarchy. But it can happen.”
“Any normal country would…destroy those who seek to hurt it. The murderer who perpetrated the  lynch in Ramallah, it’s inconceivable, it would bring disgust to any normal person,” Rontzki said, referring to the expected release of two Palestinians involved in the mob attack on two IDF reservists in the West Bank city.
“A country that would allow something like that needs to realize that people will rise up and do something. It’s understandable,” he added.
The former chief military rabbi also said the Shalit deal would provide a significant boost to Hamas, saying: “Terrorists don’t have tanks. Their strength comes from their fighting spirit, and Hamas got several divisions of fighters and fighting spirit today.”
Rontzki’s comments to Arutz Sheva came after a High Court session earlier Monday, which assembled to discuss petitions by bereaved families against the Shalit swap deal.
Four petitions were submitted to the court, filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association and relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks. Judging from similar appeals in prisoner exchange deals in the past, however, the court is unlikely to intervene in what it considers a political and security issue.
During the hearing, Shvuel Schijveschuurder, a 27-year-old from Givat Shmuel who lost his parents and three of his siblings in the 2001 terror attack at the “Sbarro” restaurant in Jerusalem, yelled at Gilad Shalit’s father Noam, who came to court as a defender.
Schijveschuurder – who last week vandalized Yitzhak Rabin’s Tel Aviv memorial in protest of the Shalit deal – shouted: “Hang a black flag over your home in Mitzpe Hila, this is a day of mourning.”
(www.haaretz.com / 17.10.2011)