Hand in hand, a line of soldiers stretched out across a field, slowly moving forward. Together they searched every inch, leaving no stone unturned, no brush unmoved. They knew the bodies of our three kidnapped teenagers were there.
For 18 days three families, the Nation of Israel and caring people around the world cried out: “Bring back our boys!”
Gild-Ad, Eyal and Naftali were abducted on their way home from school. For 18 days their families, sick with worry, wondered if they would ever be able to hug their children again. Now we discover the answer. No.
Gild-Ad, Eyal and Naftali were snatched, shot and left to rot in a field.
The cry “Bring back our boys!” fell on deaf ears. The American government reacted laconically (although Naftali Frenkel was an American-Israeli citizen). The UN utterly disregarded the plight of the three mothers, even after they came in person to beg for a grain of sympathy, a drop of understanding.
Our boys, our soldiers, just a few short years older than the abducted teens, were the ones that brought Gild-Ad, Eyal and Naftali back.
We have only each other to count on. America won’t save us. The world doesn’t care.
In an interview with Naftali’s mother, Mike Huckabee focused with some amazement on the solidarity and support the families received from the people of Israel. From the perspective of an outsider, the reaction of the nation to the suffering of the individual families was exceptional. From the perspective of an Israeli, this is simply what the families are due. This is the minimum we can give. How could we react any differently?
The people of Israel cried out: “Bring back OUR boys!” not “Bring back THE boys!” Naftali, Eyal and Gil-Ad belong to their parents, their families and friends. They are also part of the Nation of Israel and that makes them OURS.
Parents in Israel understand that it could have been their son or daughter, abducted and murdered by terrorists. It still could be. Every person in the country understands it could be their child, brother, sister, friend. It is easy to feel the pain of the parents, the utter, gut twisting horror of a child murdered. Of not being able to protect your own child.
Empathy is the most basic, fundamental element of a healthy society. If we are unable to see their boys as our boys, if we cannot understand the pain of a parent devastated at the loss of a child, our society is doomed.
Most people around the world will find it easy to condemn the terrorists who abducted and murdered three children – just because they were Jewish / Israeli.
The society that raised these terrorists applauded the abduction. Those who committed similar actions in the past are lauded as heroes. The terrorists wanted to be ‘heroes’ too. Many people will find it easy to call that a ‘sick’ society.
But what about the people, the governments, who look at the suffering of others and feel no empathy?
History tells us that nations can be trained to be blind to the suffering of those around them. People can be trained to not see their neighbors as people. It is not the Nazis that caused the Holocaust – it is the silent majority that allowed it to happen.
Societies are made up of individuals. It is up to each and every one of us to decide what kind of society we want to live in. It’s your choice. Make it. Not to choose is to choose.