my article published on Times of Israel yesterday: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/no-one-left-to-speak-for-me/
#BringBackOurBoys day 14
Fourteen days ago Gil-Ad Shaer (16 years old), Neftali Frenkel (16 years old) and Eyal Ifrach (19 years old) called their parents, telling them they were on their way home from school. Their parents waited for them but the boys didn’t show up.
Later it was discovered that one of them made an emergency call to the police, begging for help, saying they were being kidnapped. No one has heard from them since.
We know who kidnapped them – Hamas terrorists – we know their names, where they live… their families have been questioned. The terrorists have not yet been caught and it is not known if the three missing boys are dead or alive.
It’s said that being a parent means that your heart will, from that moment onward, walk around outside of your body. Suddenly you notice the miracle of things you’ve taken for granted for so long – fingernails on tiny fingers, hands that can hold, legs that become strong enough to learn to walk. Small things make you ridiculously proud. Going to the toilet alone, successfully tying shoelaces… You vicariously experience every new experience; new food, a million different kinds of ‘first time that’.
Three sets of parents in Israel are counting the moments their precious children have been gone, wondering where they are. Are they hot? Cold? Hungry? Dehydrated? Terrified? Are they being tortured? Were they tortured to death?
In the imagination you can die a million deaths in a matter of moments. It’s been 14 days. Every hour, every moment of not knowing is, in itself a type of torture.
The terrorists know this. They understand the circles of suffering caused by kidnapping (Gilad Shalit was the perfect case study…). It spreads like ripples in a pond to encompass the direct family, friends, acquaintances and the entire country. The guts twist with horror – every mother knows that the kidnapped could be her baby. Every father imagines his son torn from him, the devastation of being unable to protect his own boy.
The Nation of Israel does not rest when children are snatched from their parents. “No one left behind” is not a slogan, it is a directive.
For the past 14 days thousands of Israeli soldiers have been searching for Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal. Searching the homes of known terrorists, members of Hamas, questioning them, looking in to every possible hiding places, inside and outside, leaving no stone unturned, investigating every cave, nook and cranny. They are putting themselves on the line so that three sets of parents can once more, wrap their arms around their children.
As the IDF moves the earth to bring back our boys the religious are praying in the hope of moving the heavens. This is a time for action – to reach out, to speak up: to speak for Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal who have been so cruelly silenced, to speak for their parents and for the entire State of Israel who is expected to live with, accept and in fact “make peace” with the very people who applaud kidnapping and murder of Israelis and Jews.
Again the world, as a whole, is silent.
The mothers of the kidnapped boys went to speak in front of the UN, to ask for compassion. Instead they received a deluge of vitriol and false allegations against Israel – the unspoken but implied response being: “It’s not nice what happened to you but basically you deserve it because you are Israelis, because you are Jewish.”
Naftali Shaer is an American citizen but the US government has done next to nothing to assist in bringing him back home.
Why should you care? They aren’t your boys. This won’t, couldn’t ever happen to your children. Right?
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.“*
This isn’t just about three Israeli boys. Or even about the Israeli people who live under constant threat. Or the Jewish people who are not safe in Toulouse, France or even in Kansas, USA. This is about Nigerian girls being taken hostage, about police being afraid to enter certain neighborhoods all across Europe, about chopping off the head of a British soldier in broad daylight, in the streets of London. It’s about 9/11 and all the bombings and terrorizing that has occurred since.
It’s about the commitment to stop excusing and appeasing the bully.
Most of all – it’s about speaking up before there is no one left to speak for you.
*Quote by Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.