They don’t want to remember being victims.

Most Israelis applauded when Gilad Shalit was released; Jews place a high value on human life. I also was happy to see him home. How can one not be?

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But what about the value of the lives of terror victims? And what about the value of the lives of the bereaved families who have to bear witness not only to the loss of their loved ones, but now to the injustice that was perpetrated against them, albeit in the name of the sanctity of life?

Israel must pass a law establishing a terror victims’ rights program that protects the rights of terror victims and their families, empowering them so that no further prisoner exchanges occur without their voices being heard.

Victims in criminal cases are allowed to make a statement before sentencing and are supposed to be kept informed of court proceedings. Terror victims should be accorded the same rights, allowed to give an impact statement in court and be kept informed of sentencing and judicial procedures, including clemency proceedings.

Sherri Mandell is the co-founder of the Koby Mandell Foundation (kobymandell.org) which  runs healing programs for victims of terror and tragedy in Israel. She is also the author of the book “The Blessing of a Broken Heart.

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Sherri Mandell is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation (www.kobymandell.org), which runs programs for bereaved families in Israel. Her book "The Blessing of a Broken Heart" won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004.

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