Yesterday, I had several things that I considered sharing with you.
Today, I only have one thing on my mind. My heart hurts, my tears keep coming and I can think of nothing other than the three teenage boys (two 16 year olds, one 19 year old) who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on their way home from school on Thursday evening.
Left to right: Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shayer
Like so many students, my ds15 also attends a yeshiva dormitory school – just like these boys. Like so many others, he also has to find a way home each Thursday - just like these boys. This past Thursday night – the evening they were kidnapped – he called to ask about the bus schedule and told me he was about to set out. I had an ominous feeling and asked him to wait until the next morning to travel, which I had never done before. He told me he really wanted to be home that night, if he waited until the morning he wouldn’t get home until midday.
Logically what he was saying made sense and I agreed he should return home that night but the anxious feeling stayed with me until he finally arrived home. The next morning I gave him a big hug and told him I had been really worried. “Really?” he asked, surprised.
He’s right, why should I have been so worried? He’s been traveling home from school for Shabbos almost every week. Sure, I sometimes wonder if he’ll miss a bus but I’ve never had this sick to my stomach feeling about it.
This morning, as I read the news reports of the two 16 year old boys and their 19 year old friend who were abducted by brutal terrorists as they were coming home from school, I kept thinking of my feeling of dread.
The Israeli Defense Forces are searching and according to the last update, have said the boys are still alive and hidden in the Hevron area. No doubt they’ve kidnapped them with the intention to exchange them for the release of thousands of convicted murderers who are Israeli prisons, as they did in the case of Gilad Shalit. As a people of peace who place a huge value on the sanctity of life, we are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating with representatives of a culture of death.
Meanwhile, there has been a call from the Palestinian Authority (our ‘peace’ partners) to the Arab community to obstruct the army’s search efforts to find the boys, and the Arab street celebrates the kidnapping. Passing out candies and baked goods is mild compared to the glee being expressed via social media networks at the abduction of children.
One of the boys is an American citizen and a petition has been started to demand the American government get involved in his release. (Note – a second petition was started at the same time as this, but this is the official petition to sign. ) 100,000 signatures are necessary for the petition to be considered – please click the orange words and the link will take you to where you can sign. His mother has spoken briefly at a press conference – I have no idea how she managed to get through without crying because not only did I cry listening to her, I tear up just thinking of the emotional agony these parents are going through.
She has said they feel waves of love and support surrounding them and asks for continued prayers, ending by expressing her hope that they will soon be hugging their sons again.
Last night there was a prayer gathering at the Kotel/Western Wall (and another at Me’arat Hamachpeila/ Cave of the Ancestors. In the clips of both gatherings, they were singing the same song/prayer: “May God have mercy on us and on them, may He bring us from a place of constriction to place of abundance, from darkness to light, from oppression to redemption, may it be very soon.”
You can say tehillim/psalms as a merit for the return of these three teens by clicking here or here - you can say as much or as little as you want in English or Hebrew online while you sit in front of your computer. The names of the boys are:
- Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devora – age 16
- Gil-ad Michael ben Bat Galim – age 16
- Ayal ben Iris Teshura – age 19
Here in Israel we know this could have been any one of our children that was taken. These three teens are our boys, and our entire country is reeling. Throughout religious schools in Israel today, prayers were said for the boys and in synagogues and yeshivos across the country there will be prayer gatherings for them tonight. (Update – the prayer gathering tonight at the Kotel had over 30,000 people in attendance.)
Please, regardless of your religious affiliation, if you are a person of faith, pray with full intention that these young boys are returned home soon, alive and healthy.
May we hear good news soon.