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In Israel, a nation mourns with the families of slain soldiers

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"They say time heals all wounds," she said. "But is this really so? Two years have passed since that debilitating moment that cut through our life's thread, the moment in which the worst scenario became a threatening reality that forced us to dive into a dark and convoluted world. I believed and hoped that the moment would come where I would wake up and say it was all just a bad dream."

But Israelis have been waking up to find that many of their goals have gone unrealized. The prisoner exchange has Israel feeling like it was "played." Some wondered why Israel agreed to the swap, if Hezbollah wasn't straight with Israel about whether the two were alive and whether they had information about Ron Arad, who was captured in Lebanon in 1986 and is considered missing in action.

Groundswell of public pressure

Part of the answer, analysts say, is that the families succeeded in creating a groundswell of public pressure to bring their sons home, dead or alive, even at the cost of releasing Lebanon's Samir Kuntar, convicted of killing four Israelis in a 1979 raid here.

"What we witnessed in the last two years and more is that the families of those soldiers and the involvement of the Israeli media and public opinion is very strong in affecting the decisionmakers," says Yitzhak Reiter, a professor of political science and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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