Monday, June 16, 2014

Missing Israeli Boys Bring United Response

Word that three Israeli teens were missing brought a predictable response among world Jewry: prayer.

The three yeshiva (religious school) youths were hitchhiking home for the Sabbath when they disappeared. Immediate speculation was that they were kidnapped by terrorists inspired by previous willingness to trade large numbers of prisoners for a single person (eg. Gilad Shalit, held five years and released in a trade for 1,027 prisoners in 2011).

Mrs. Obama with the hashtag
Immediately, emails, texts and tweets requesting that Jews repeat Psalms, particularly Psalm 121, as entreaty to God for the boys' safety, filled in-boxes. The hashtag Mrs. Obama, with her glum expression, tweeted to publicize the kidnapping of 250 Nigerian girls by the Islamist group Boko Haram, was quickly adapted for the three Israelis: #bringbackourboys.

Eyal Yifrach,19, Gilad Sha'er and Naftali Frankel, both 16, vanished Thursday from a popular hitchhiking location in the hills near Hebron, near the schools they attended. While Israel deploys its intelligence and military capabilities to find them, the rest of the world prays.

Where? the natural instinct for Jews in Israel is to converge at the earthly spot closest to God--the foot of the Temple Mount, near its surrounding wall, the Kotel. Videos of massive crowds praying, singing and pleading to God fill my Facebook feed. It's our natural reaction.

I didn't read any responses like that surrounding the horrifying kidnapping of so many
Crowds at the Western Wall in Jerusalem praying for the missing boys
young girls in Nigeria, and indeed, the girls have yet to be located and freed, after a full month of captivity. While I'm sure many anguished prayers have asked God for their release, from all reports I've seen, the reaction was not the simultaneous, instinctual unity that Jews are exhibiting now.

We pray that these boys will be found unharmed and that any others contemplating kidnapping realize Israelis have more than material strength at their disposal.

1 comment:

  1. Praying for the boys' safety and comfort for their families.