Gil-Ad: Purpose and Intention

Parents usually have hopes and dreams for their children. Some dream that their children will be more successful than them, have more money, a bigger house… others will tell you “I just want my kids to be happy.”

In the Jewish tradition words and even individual letters are very important. God used words to create the world; Jews are the “People of the Book” (i.e. the bible). This belief is what led Bat Galim and Ophir Shaer to name their son “Gil-Ad”, rather than the more common “Gilad”.
“Gil-Ad” means eternal joy.

The Shaers chose a name that encapsulated their feelings about their son, their hopes for his life. They were very particular about writing his name with a hyphen to differentiate it from the standard bible name “Gilad” and from another word written with the same letters but pronounced differently: galed. “Galed” is a monument, built to honor and preserve the memory of the dead.

How ironic.

On June 12th, sixteen year old Gil-Ad Shaer was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, along with Naftali Frenkel (16 yrs) and Eyal Ifrach (19 yrs).

Now the Shaer, Frenkel and Ifrach parents are left to build monuments for their children – tombstones. Galed instead of Gil-Ad.

A few moments after the three boys were abducted Gil-Ad called the police. This 16 year old child had the strength of mind and courage to call for help, to try to save himself and the boys with him. Who can imagine such audacity? Trapped in a car speeding off in the wrong direction, with armed terrorists, Gil-Ad dialed the police and told the operator “I’ve been kidnapped”. The recording of the call documents the crucial moments of the abduction: the call for help, the terrorists shouting at the boys to put their heads down, their hands down, one of the terrorists telling the other “take that (phone) from him”, bullet shots, shouts of pain and one of the terrorists singing. Yes – singing.

Purpose and intention make all the difference in the world. On one hand there are three boys that just wanted to go home. On the other, terrorists who left their homes, intending to kidnap Jews, terrorize and create suffering.

In an interview, the mother of one of the terrorists said that: “If it was her son that kidnapped the three teens she would be proud for the rest of her life.”

One mother wishes eternal joy for her son, Gil-Ad. The other says she finds eternal joy in the knowledge that her son killed the children of three other mothers.

What a difference.


It is politically correct to say that everyone is the same, all people have the same hopes and dreams for their children, have the same fundamental morals and values but this is just not true. Unfortunately. If that was true, Gil-Ad, Naftali, Eyal and so many others would be alive today. If that was true no Arab would have celebrated the kidnapping and murder of three children. Or be proud that it was their son who committed the murders.

It’s not politically correct to point out the differences. You could ignore them. Pretend they don’t exist. Many do. You could – but it’s very, very dangerous to do so.

Intention and purpose matter.

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