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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Kidnapping Saga: Lapid Dusts Off His Siddur to Pray

"I believe they will come back but if not, please be united. Be united.” - Racheli Frankel, mother of kidnap victim

Eyal Yifrah (19), Gil-Ad Shayer(16) and Naftali Frenkel (16) , the three Israeli boys are the victims of kidnapping by Hamas terrorists.

Eyal Yifrah (19), Gil-Ad Shayer(16) and Naftali Frenkel (16) , the three Israeli boys are the victims of kidnapping by Hamas terrorists.

Secular Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid’s turning to prayer for the safe return of three teenagers kidnapped by Palestinian Authority terrorists symbolizes the country’s ability to plug the dikes against surrender to the frustration that has followed the initial reaction of anger to the abductions.

Every media outlet in the country has rightfully tried to keep the crisis in the headlines, but the truth is that for all the efforts to report something new, the bottom line is “nada.”

Zilch. Zero.

If the security forces know something, they aren’t saying or may even be lying to throw the terrorists off course. Hanging on to every word to interpret, analyze and dissect, journalists have covered every possibility and every angle possible,  and the IDF has carried out thousands of searches for the terrorists and their captives, Gilad Sha’ar, Naftali Frankel and Eyah Yifrach.

Lapid, during a visit to the family of Sha’ar, told Gilad’s mother, “I haven’t prayed for six years. Since the bar mitzvah of my son I haven’t been in a synagogue. When the story of your sons broke, I looked through the entire house searching for my grandfather’s siddur. I sat and prayed.”

It would be easy – and mean – to ridicule Lapid, whose who has made a religion out of spewing venom against observant Jews, especially Haredim.

Mocking him so would simply be another way of venting frustration, and we have already seen this week enough cracks in the unity that Israelis have displayed in their prayers for the kidnap victims and the trust that the IDF will find them alive and will capture the terrorists, dead or alive.

Naftalii Frankel’s mother Racheli said this week, “I believe wholeheartedly that they will return, but whatever happens, remember God does not work for us. Do not forget, even if God forbid, something happens, I believe they will come back but if not, please be united. Be united.”

Not everyone was listening.

David Ha’Ivri, who has done wonders in the Shomron Regional Council to bring journalists like Lapid as well as foreign media and political leaders to see for themselves that Jews are not oppressors and that settlers are not terrorists, vented his anger and frustration on the Arutz Sheva website Thursday and blamed the Israeli security forces for not preventing the kidnapping.

And Rabbi Dov Lior of Hebron-Kiryat Arba, one of the leading national religious rabbis, blamed the kidnappings on the failure of Israelis to do more mitzvot.

Between Ha’Ivri, Rabbi Lior and Lapid, guess which one gets the thumbs up for saying the right thing at the right time?

As every day passes without real news, the danger grows that frustration will turn to hopelessness.

Pundits already are warning that the army’s operating against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria could have repercussions as we get closer to next week’s beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Security forces have arrested more than 300 terror suspects and killed at least one, while three soldiers have suffered light injuries.

Rabbi Berel Wein, in comments on the Jewish view of frustration., has written,  “Usually, frustration leads to feelings of anger and anger leads to bitterness of spirit and even to violence….

“’Blowing off steam’ is an understandable reaction to moments of extreme frustration. Yet the Torah and Jewish tradition militates strongly against such expressions of anger in almost all circumstances of life. Maimonides, who advocates moderation and a middle of the road approach regarding all human behavior traits, nevertheless advocates extremism in avoiding anger.

“The Talmud is replete with statements denigrating anger as a response to the frustrations of life. Anger is a statement that there is no God present in the world. Anger by its very presence is heresy and a denial of faith.”

Easier said than done, but Lapid, of all people, has shown the country how to do it.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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3 Responses to “Kidnapping Saga: Lapid Dusts Off His Siddur to Pray”

  1. Shira Levin says:

    I would not mock Lapid. Instead I hope he this won't be the last time he turns to prayer and he will start attending synagogue again.

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