"We are entitled to expect of our governments not to be smart only after the fact but — at least once — to be smart before disaster strikes," Nahum Barnea, the nation's pre-eminent newspaper columnist, wrote in the Yediot Ahronot daily. "That hasn't happened because we have no national leadership here that is capable of rising above the immediate problems."
"The price is excessive, the risks are great and the precedent is displeasing, but a state that for five years was unable to rescue a soldier from captivity by other means has no choice but to pay the price," he wrote. "The alternative — to let him die in captivity — is unacceptable. It does not meet the minimum conditions of the Israeli tribe."