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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.