Almost like 9/11, I think most of us will remember where we were when we found out Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad were found dead on Monday. In the Jewish world, it was about as tragic news as we could possibly hear. And yet, there was a silver lining to the cloud. A showing of Jewish/Israeli unity took place the likes of which has not happened in a very long time. #Bringbackourboys and #eyalnaftaligilad dominated our Twitter feeds for 18 days. Secular Israeli programs aired Tehillim (Psalms) readings and prayer. From the first report to the burial, the Nation of Israel was one. Sort of. The Israeli community was one. The religious Jewish community was one with the Israeli community. The vast majority of the response from the American Diaspora community was muted at best. Some rallies in the U.S. occurred, but searches on the Internet suggest most of the initiatives came out of the Orthodox camp. The Jewish papers of every stripe carried articles, but I had significant difficulty finding op-eds and the like written for secular newspapers. However, the most muted responses came from two places where Jews are aplenty and could have made much more of the issue: Hollywood and the government. Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Ron Thal stands out as one of the fews celebrities to publicly call to #bringbackourboys. I know of one or two others, but considering the number of Jews in the entertainment industry and the spotlight placed upon them, one would have expected a lot more. And the government? There are currently ten Jewish senators, 22 Jewish House representatives, and three Supreme Court justices serving in the government yet the only congressman to raise the issue on the Senate floor was Ted Cruz. For this reason I have found criticisms of President Obama’s response to be unfair. Why would anyone expect President Obama to be more emotional about a Jewish issue than the Jews in government themselves? The hidden tragedy of the murder of three young boys is not just that they were murdered in cold blood, but that a significant number of their brethren failed to mourn them. I heard a story that occurred shortly after the news came out at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn. A student was crying and another one said sarcastically “why are YOU crying?” Rav Aharon Schecter, the Rosh Yeshiva, whipped around to them in the middle of 500 students and yelled at the mocker “why aren’t YOU?!” Unfortunately, we know the answer why so many Jews in America did not. They simply feel no kinship to these boys and are losing that kinship to the Jewish people day by day. If such a tragic event can’t move them back to us, what can?
This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content here are presented solely by the author, and The Times of Israel assumes no responsibility for them. In case of abuse, report this post.