Today was the exchange between Israel and Hizbollah in Lebanon of prisoners, bodies, etc.
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were captured just over 2 years ago when members of Hizbollah attached a group of Israeli soldiers on patrol, precipitating the 2nd Lebanon war. In all that time, Hizbollah never told any international representative the condition of the soldiers, but it was assumed, at least lately, that at least one if not both were dead. Until the last moment, Hizbollah reacted without concern to human feelings, sending out rumors as late as this morning that one of the two soldiers were alive.
Like many others here, we were glued to the TV or radio this morning. Only when 2 plain black caskets were delivered to the Israelis around ten a.m. today, was it very clear that both had died. The parents of one said they had rationalized that their son was dead, but in their hearts they still had hope. Goldwasser's wife, , who had talked throughout Israel, on the net, and the US, and was extremely strong, collapsed today with the news.
Israelis continue to listen to the radio and TV to find out if the bodies were indeed the two soldiers, to hear from the families, the army, the President, and to feel the pain and sadness of the day. The Israelis verified around 2 p.m. that the bodies were indeed that of Regev and Goldvasser. Now at 5 p.m., the Israelis are getting body parts of other dead soldiers and the 5 Lebanese prisoners will soon cross the border north, including Samir Kuntar, who killed 4 Israelis in 1979 and has been in prison in Israel since then. President Peres said that Israel paid a painful price for the return of the two bodies, but that it was important to do so that they may rest in piece in our land.
Israelis will pay their respects to the two families who will bury their sons tomorrow. The country is in morning, while Hizbollah and others in Lebanon including the President are rejoicing, calling the child murderer Samir Kantar a national hero We too feel the pain. BTW, several US teen groups traveling in Israel changed their plans to go to the Kineret and other fun places and instead stopped by the homes of the dead reservists to light candles and express their grief too.