Jews the world over sang, prayed, sought to comfort the families, turned to Heaven; perhaps our unity would be noticed on High.
It is the way of the People of Israel, to gather the troops in whichever manner one possibly can, to beseech the One Above to shower his Creations with mercy, and answer the pleas of His children.
Jews flocked to the Western Wall to pray. To local synagogues. Prayed in their homes. Lit Sabbath candles early, and added a light each Friday, ‘for the boys.’
Thousands upon thousands rallied in public squares. Prepubescent Israelis, teenagers, young adults and oldsters alike gathered at all hours of the day and night to show their support for three Israeli families in pain.
Jewish singers contributed their hearts and their skills and their vocal chords to the effort, hoping and praying that perhaps somehow Heaven would hear them…
Three families bewildered, in agony, waiting each day and night for their teenage sons to come home.
They wait no longer.
Who can measure a parent’s pain, the cry of a brother or a sister in the night?
Eyal Yifrach, 19, in the flower of his manhood, was just on the verge of starting his military service. Naftali Frenkel, 16, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, learned together with his fellow yeshiva student, Gilad Sha’ar at the renowned Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion.
The three were kidnapped by Arab terrorists on June 12 as they hitchhiked home from Gush Etzion for the Sabbath on a Thursday night.
One had the presence of mind to dial the police hotline at “100″ and whisper carefully into his cell phone, “I’m being kidnapped! We’re being kidnapped!” and then he fell silent – perhaps fearful his captors would detect his action.
It took police nearly five hours to figure out that a real crisis was in process; when first received by a routine dispatcher, the call was forwarded to a supervisor, who tried to dial back to the same number. After eight failed attempts, the supervisor simply gave up and assumed it was a prank call – and ignored it.
Precious hours later, when the boys’ frantic parents had searched for their missing children and already realized a serious problem was likely in process, one of the parents finally turned to police and forced senior officials to take the matter to the next level.
But by then, though few realized it, probably it was already too late.
Within minutes after the story hit the media, hundreds of thousands of Jews offered their support.
There were rallies around the country, rallies around the world, an outpouring of love and caring and affection for the families. Rage at the Arab terrorists who would dare to kidnap children – children! – from inside an area deemed under Israeli control in accordance with the internationally recognized Oslo Accords – “Area C” – that Israel has always been enjoined to observe so scrupulously regardless of how it was violated by the Palestinian Authority.
What kind of human being could kidnap and murder a mother’s child? Or three?
The three mothers of the boys appealed to the United Nations Human Relations Council just a few days ago — “Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?” they asked. There was no reply.
The Hamas terrorists who have been identified as being connected with this horrendous crime are allegedly observant Muslims; one is even married with three children of his own.
In the Jewish communities of Elad, Talmon and Nof Ayalon, where the families of the boys live, the sounds of muffled cries could be heard in the background as Israeli radio broadcasters did what they must to report the news of the discovery of their bodies, as sensitively as possible.
Hana Levi Julian