Friday, August 29, 2014 Elul 3, 5774

Bring Kidnapped Israelis Home

June 18, 2014
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From left: kidnapped Israeli teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha'ar and Eyal Yifrah
Prayers. Vigils. Videos. Facebook pages. #BringBackOurBoys.
 
The swift reaction to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers shows once again how a crisis can unite the Jewish world.
 
The political, religious and geographic boundaries that too often divide us rapidly fade away as we collectively pray for the safe and quick return of the boys who were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank on June 12. 
 
It also reinforces the isolation we Jews can feel absent an equally swift outraged response from the rest of the world. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to demand world condemnation of such a cowardly and inhuman act as the abduction of innocent yeshiva students.
 
On Tuesday, five days after the crisis erupted, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, condemned the abductions “in the strongest terms” and called for the release of the Israelis. The United States and other allies have also spoken out against the kidnappings but it is unclear how far they will go to support Israel’s efforts to get the students back. 
 
With significant troops engaged in a major military operation against Hamas in the West Bank and several hundred Hamas members already under arrest, Israel appears determined not only to rescue the captives but also to deal a blow to the terrorist organization that just weeks ago was bolstered internationally by its unity pact with the Palestinian Authority. 
 
For now, as the search continues, it is our job to urge the global community to exert pressure on the Palestinians to help bring the boys home and to show our solidarity with the families who are suffering. 
 
Prayers abound on the Internet as do petitions and letters supporting the families.
 
The Jewish Federations of North America, for example, posted a link (bringbackourboys.net) that allows you to sign a letter of support to the families of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach. 
 
“As the search continues for your sons, we pray for them like they are our own,” reads the letter. “We stand together with you and send our prayers, thoughts and support to you and all of Israel as we stand up to terror and mount every possible effort to safely #bringbackourboys.”
 
To that we say: Amen. 

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