On Friday, before Shabbat, news of missing boys started hitting the internet. Many feared that they had been kidnapped by terrorists.
When I got to synagogue, the rabbi asked for us to say a few psalms. Yes, it was confirmed that the boys were kidnapped. The rest of my Shabbat was dedicated to thinking about these boys: fearing for the worse and praying for a miracle.
When Shabbat ended, I ran to my computer to see if there was any news. Unfortunately, the only news was that there was still no news. 48 hours passed since we last heard from the boys. Gil-ad (16), Naftali (16) and Eyal (18) are still missing.
The worst part is the feeling of powerlessness. If only there was something we could do, anything! If I had to re-enlist now in the IDF to help with the search, I wouldn’t think twice. If I could in any way help bring about their release, I would. This is not just how I feel. This is how every single Israeli feels on this night.
All we can do right now is stand united in prayer.
We Stand United
One of the greatest things about living in Israel is the feeling of solidarity that exists. Sure, on a day to day basis, this feeling is often overlooked. But when it actually matters, the nation of Israel stands as one.
During Operation Pillar of Defense, when I was called for emergency reserve duty, the morning after my sister’s wedding in Tel Aviv, I hopped into a cab and asked to be driven to the nearest bus stop to make my way to Jerusalem where I was to report for duty. The cab driver heard my French accent (I am Canadian), and asked for an exaggerated price, thinking I was a tourist. I refused to pay that price and asked for him to lower it. He got mad but eventually agreed. He then asked me where I was going. I explained I was on my way to Jerusalem since I was called up for service. He started wishing me luck. When we got to the bus stop, I got ready to pay the agreed upon price. The driver refused. I insisted. He refused. In some way, he also wanted to help with the military effort. The lift he gave me made him a part of this effort.
A few days later, I went home to see my parents for one night, after getting a special permission since they were visiting from Canada for my sister’s wedding. On my way, I stopped in a supermarket to buy some food. There, an ultra-Orthodox Jew saw me in uniform and started blessing me, wishing me luck and praying for my safety. He too, in his own special way, wanted to help with the military effort.
A secular Tel-Aviv taxi driver and an Ultra-Orthodox Jew stood united wanting to help the Nation of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces succeed in the military effort.
Today, we once again stand united. This feeling of wanting to help in any way possible is still very present.
We all pray, some use social media in innovative ways to show their support, and most of us are glued to the news waiting to hear some good news.
When we stand united as we do today, no enemy will ever be able to reach us. This is our greatest strength.
It is sad that we need these tragic times to remind us of this unity, but it is also comforting to know this unity is so strong and present.
May Gil-ad, Naftali and Eyal come home safely. May our prayers be heard.