Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrach, and Gilad Shaar: Release Them Now

It is a terrifying world out there, filled with dangerous, malevolent people. The worst of these monstrous individuals – the very worst – are those who prey on children. A week ago despicable people kidnapped 3 Israeli teens.

Whenever I read about such criminals I try to imagine what they’re thinking. I try to discern their logic and their values. I truly wonder what motivates them to threaten young lives.

Try as I might, I can find no entry point to their minds. To peer inside their world is to enter a place darker than a cavern in which illumination is impossible. Their up is my down. Their universe rests on a foundation of self-aggrandizement that clearly sees 2 kinds of people: those who believe as they believe and those who do not. As long as the “believers” dress a certain way and talk a certain way and adhere to the same ideology, all is well. But those who do not accept the same code for their lives are written off as dangerous and worthy of scorn, derision, and violence. That is, the non-believer is an enemy when he/she dares to voice another version of reality.

In the dark world of these kidnappers there is no such thing as an innocent life. And so these three boys are now in danger’s way. We don’t even know who kidnapped them. The Netanyahu government accuses Hamas of the crime and Hamas denies involvement. But no one in fact has stepped up to take responsibility, which is odd. Odd, because terrorists generally kidnap in order to broker a swap of imprisoned compatriots.

We don’t know where the boys are, a fact that is frightening, given Israel’s amazing abilities to use intelligence in the Occupied Territories. There are those who think security tightened too quickly for the kidnappers to leave Israel. Others suggest they were spirited out and may be in Iraq or Syria or even Iran.

Of course there are loads of facts that are all very top-secret. Whatever the military and the government are doing, they have been doing with grim purposefulness. There are a lot of sleepless people in Israel this week.

As I’ve read about Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal, it strikes me how different they are from my sons. Their parents and I probably have differences of opinion on everything from Jewish observance to the legitimacy of Reform Judaism to a two-state solution to the legitimacy of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. It is likely that we would never meet, so different are our worlds and our social circles. Yet for all the ways we are on opposite sides of so many issues, on one we are united: those boys are our children. We pray for their release.

Shabbat Shalom



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