Our boys are missing.

I say “our boys” because these could be our sons, our brothers.

This is just how we roll in Israel.

Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh-la-zeh: The People of Israel are responsible for one another.

You can see it in  the way we scold random parents for forgetting to put socks on their kids. You can see it in the way we give soldiers a lift home.  And you can see it in the way that the IDF calls this operation to find these missing children Mivtza Shuvu Achim — Operation Return Brothers.

(God, how my heart lurches when I read that. Tell me yours doesn’t.)

We are glued to the news: We check our phones every five minutes, our fingers scrolling down our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we click over to Whatsapp groups, we check our SMSs. When the news hour comes on the radio, we turn up the volume instead of switching stations. We ask each other, “have you heard anything?”  “Is there any news?”

There is no news about our boys.

Meanwhile, under a blistering mid-June sun, under a baleful waning moon,  the IDF is doing everything they can to find them

And my finger scrolls again down Facebook, down Twitter, over to Times of Israel, I click on whatsapp and message someone: “Any developments? What can we do?”

I know I am not alone when I say that I want to be there in the bowels of the West Bank looking for some sign of our boys, my claws and fangs bared ready to pounce on anyone who may have hurt them… BUT, I also know that the IDF soooo doesn’t need mother and father lions with absolutely zero training prowling around, possibly making things more complicated for everyone. Because apparently, so sayeth Hamas: There are going to be a lot more of these kidnappings.

So what can I do? Besides donating food and provisions to the IDF,  I can be part of an online community of people who are seeking some solace and solidarity. So I’ve joined Bring Back Our Boys on Facebook,  and every time I see an update, my heart lurches again.

Obviously, we know that posting pictures and news updates with the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys ISN’T going to bring back our boys. But it is going to do SOMETHING:  In an online environment where so many people condemn Israel, where major international newspapers send out alerts about a freaking golf tournament (seriously) and NOT about these 3 kidnapped boys, where so many people are separated by continents and oceans and are longing for some kind of community as we wait and we wait and we wait, this hashtag helps.

And apparently, the parents of these boys notice, too, and they receive some measure of comfort from it. And that should be reason enough.

#BringBackOurBoys is the social media equivalent of leaving the light on until these boys come home.

So, we will let that light shine.

#bringbackourboys

nir barkat

Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat

 

Israeli dance class at Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, CA.  Photo provided by Diana Lerner

Israeli dance class at Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, CA.
Photo provided by Diana Lerner

 

Noah, Aaron, Nate and Eric. San Diego

Noah, Aaron, Nate and Eric. San Diego

 

From a large bringourboysback gathering in Upper West Side Manhattan.  Photo by Dov Lieber

From a large bringourboysback gathering in Upper West Side Manhattan.
Photo by Dov Lieber

 

#bringbackourboys

 

Photo provided by Jason Pearlman

Photo provided by Jason Pearlman and the ‘Face of Israel” team.

Brian of London

Brian of London

 

MK Rina Frenkel

MK Rina Frenkel

 

Idan Matalon

Idan Matalon

 

Jamie Kreitman

Jamie Kreitman

Laura Ben-David

Laura Ben-David

#bringbackourboys

#bringbackourboys

Reuven Kapul

 

 

 

#bringbackourboys

 

Shirley Bouganim

Shirley Bouganim

 

Gadi Wilcherski

Gadi Wilcherski

 

#bringbackourboys

Liz Browden

 

#bringbackourboys

#bringbackourboys

Arsen Ostrovsky and Ran Bar-Yoshafat.

#bringbackourboys

 

John Walker

John Walker

#bringbackourboys

Natalie Seeff

 

Natali Dadon

Natali Dadon

 

 

Omri Hayoon

Omri Hayoon

 

Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky

Neil Radow, with the staff from Nero Cafe

Neil Radow, with the staff from Nero Cafe. Special thanks to Shlomi Braha for the artistry

 

 

Thank you Bring Back Our Boys creating the online community.

If you want to join us, please send your picture to sarah@timesofisrael.com.