Our Shattered Hearts

This blog post is currently featured in Israel Forever:


Where do I even begin to find the words to describe what we in Israel are feeling right now? We are in shock. We are angry. We are grief stricken. Our collective heart is broken. We are demanding vengeance.

It has been almost three weeks since Eyal Yifrach 19, Gilad Shaar 16 and Naftali Frankel 16, were kidnapped by Hamas terrorist on their way home from yeshiva. Today, our worst fears were confirmed. Two Hamas terrorists (not militants, fundamentalists or extremists but TERRORISTS) kidnapped these three boys, two who were still minors and shot them to death within minutes of their abduction and hid their bodies under a pile of rocks in an empty field.


For almost three weeks we have hoped and prayed that these three boys would be returned to the bosom of their families.  How to we even begin to imagine or understand the pain that these families are feeling?  They have been beacons of strength, dignity and unity for all of us and we have taken succour from their example. On many occasions they have spoken of feeling like they are being held in a tight embrace by all of Israel.  Today we embrace you even tighter, we grieve with you, we mourn your loss. Tonight Israel weeps.

For almost three weeks we have been a nation united in solidarity and hope. Today we are united in grief.


We have come to know Eyal, Gilad and Naftali personally. Over the last three weeks we learnt that Naftali was a good student and taught himself to play guitar. Eyal volunteered with children less fortunate than himself and was committed to advocating for the release of former kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit .  Gilad was a youth counselor who loved to bake and spend time with his grandparents.

These three young men had no vengeance in their hearts. These three young men for the last weeks have become our brothers, our family, our sons. These three young men we hoped with all our might would return home safely.

We ask why but we know the answer. The oldest hatred in the world.  The oldest hatred in the world does not know an age limit or a border.  What kind of monster slaughters children like this? Our Jewish children.  In Israel, children belong to all of us and these monsters know that we value our children above all else. These monsters know that to hurt our children rips at our very core. We are our Brother’s Keeper.

Eyal, Gilad, Naftali. You represented the best of us. You united us in hope and now we unite in our grief for you.  We will hold your families in our tight embrace. We pray they are comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. We will never forget you.

Eyal. Gilad. Naftali. May your memory be a blessing.


4 thoughts on “Our Shattered Hearts

  1. Rolene you are so good with words!
    I have to add my 2 cents worth.
    As Naphtali Bennett said, “now is the time for action not words”. BUT what kind of action. I believe that with Hashem being in ,control of everything, He would not have allowed this to happen to us if we were behaving towards our fellow Jews as we should. There so much baseless hatred between the us that one can almost feel the next Holocaust approaching fast. The action we need to take is introspection. We have to look at ourselves, and correct what we are doing wrong. A wise person once told me that for every finger one points at another person, three are pointing back at them, and the thumb is pointing at Hashem. We commanded by Hashem to love our fellow Jew. Each Jew has a special neshama from Hashem. This is what we have to love. We do not have to like the actions of all other Jews, but their neshamas are sacrosanct.
    I would like to call on the religious, and secular leaders to get together without any preconditions to find solutions to stop this baseless hatred. I believe only then, when we have peace amongst ourselves, will Hashem give us peace from our enemies.


  2. I agree with Ralph,your words Ro express how we feel.
    I also agree that is time for us to confront baseless hatred between ourselves in our hearts and actions.May the tragedy of the start of this Tammuz 5774, bring a change between us as AM ISRAEL.
    Since Shavout, this year, I meditate every day,on Zechariah 8 in the Prophets, and will continue till the fast days are over in Av. Both an encouraging word as well as clear instructions to deal with our baseless hatred and see peace. .
    Let us not forget that we are in front of the fasts of the 4th and 5th month , 21 days in the straits, it is called in Jewish History.
    A time that is difficult , through the thousands of years ,up till as recent in history as the Lebanon War 2006, that started as we were about to move into the fast of the 4t month and lasted till middle of Av ! A retaliation following Gilat Shalit’s kidnapping, in the latter part of Sivan. More or less , the same time our 3 boys were kidnapped!

    A time that seems as if the enemy succeeds.But not really. Perhaps we just need to wait and stand back a bit , till middle of Av , as History repeatedly teach us as Jews.

    The month Tammuz , this year started in flames with a paint factory that was hit by a rocket from Gaza. Soon after that, our boys were found.

    A time that even the modern army of Israel fought a battle that was not their best( to put it softly) in Lebanon Tammuz/Av 2006 …?
    Maybe if they would have waited till middle of Av to fight back, the battle would have been fought with the accuracy they are known for.

    I pray that today’s leaders will be wise and learn from history, to punish the enemy , not in Tammuz or the 1st half of Av.
    Let us wait and pray for the good times of Israel , for these days to be turned back to joy and feasting. Let us read Zechariah 8 to encourage ourselves to stand strong , not to fear and give the enemy enough rope to hang themselves before we strike back any time after the middle of Av 5774.

    Let us stand back, be encouraged by the wise words of Zechariah 8 in Tammuz and Av, and wait and see to deal accurately and thoroughly with our enemies .
    Who advise our leaders on this point before we see yet another wrongly timed war , like Lebanon. ???
    I hope Israel do not fight in Tammuz and 1st half of Av 5774. I hope the Leaders wait only for a short while and then go in with a Mighty Hand and be victorious.

    May the untimely deaths of the 3 boys unite us in this grief and deliver us from hatred between ourselves.


  3. I am lost for words but feel that as long as Israel and its enemies keep retaliating and taking vengence, (as much as it feels necessary to do), this senseless, evil behaviour that literally permeates the air that they breathe, will continue till the end of time. Peace must be brought about by religious leaders on both sides, not by hectic-thinking fundamentalists, but by clear-thinking, normal human-beings who can sit around a table and have a quiet but headstrong discussion as to the peaceful way forward. Political leaders become too hot-headed to discuss anything in a calm manner. I know that times like these don’t exactly call for calm, but that’s exactly the problem!!
    G-d Bless the parebnts of those beautiful boys and may they find it in their hearts to allow Hashem to deal with them in His own way, and He will.


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