Bat-Galim Sha’ar, mother of missing teenager Gil-Ad, Sha’ar, urged the Knesset Wednesday to reverse a decision announced Tuesday to scale back the search for her son, and for Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah.
Shaar said she was taken by the overwhelming outpouring of support and concern for the boys’ safety, and cited the Biblical Rachel, who is traditionally cited as the matriarch known to “cry for her children.”
“I may be heartbroken, but I am not broken,” Sha’ar said, and continued to level withering charges against current developments in the investigation. She criticised the government’s agreement with hunger striking prisoners, and said her confidence in Israeli authorities depended on the notion that Israel is doing “everything” it can to bring the boys home.
“We need to look beyond our own pain,” Sha’ar said, “to let go of that which burns within us; we are required to see before our eyes the people of Israel, the IDF, the security forces, the government of Israel standing up against its enemies, and the hidden mission God has brought before us.
“(But) Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali are being held by Hamas terrorist kidnappers – and the Prime Minister seeks to appease them, to please them?… Why should the Palestinians enjoy Ramadan while we Israelis have to deal with a daily lack of security? How can we agree to a situation in which the Palestinians enjoy a normal life, but we continue to wonder about our children?,” she said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced the decision to scale back the manhunt Tuesday, saying the manhunt would continue but that efforts to destroy Hamas in Judea and Samaria would be curtailed. Observers said the move was timed to coincide with Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that will begin this weekend, and added that Israeli officials were concerned about creating “friction” with Palestinian civilians during the month of fasting.
Ya’alon: Operation Maxed Out
Today, Ya’alon denied that the move had been undertaken for fear of Ramadan riots, and stressed that after 12 days of intensive searching, the army had maximized the operation in its current incarnation.
The scale back was not declared due to political considerations, but rather “because the operation against Hamas has been exhausted for the most part.
Ya’alon also said that the intelligence community would continue to work for the boys’ release, but pleaded for patience on the part of the families and the Israeli public.
“It is (only) a matter of time before we get the kidnappers and the kidnapped, but this requires patience. We are moving in the right direction. We will end up solving the mystery and I hope we can return the hostages safely,” Ya’alon said.
Religious Islamic sources relate to Ramadan as a month of charity, repentance and fasting, comparable to the Jewish Elul. But Palestinians traditionally “celebrate” the month with terror attacks, increased stone attacks from the Temple Mount to the Western Wall plaza and “days of rage” aimed to kill Israeli civilians.
Ultimately, Sha’ar said she had complete faith in the Nation of Israel, who have “unite(ed) in prayer for the safe return of our missing sons.” But she warned the families would not accept “irresponsible actions” of Israeli lawmakers.
“Making a deal with the hunger strikers at this time was irresponsible to the people of Israel,” Sha’ar said.
Meir Halevi Siegel