To be Israeli:

It means to feel with one heart.

It means to cry with joint tears.

It means to mourn their child as your own.

It means to grieve for a brother like he was yours.

For the past 18 days, we have cried together and prayed together. We have hoped together and we have feared together.

We have rallied around our troops searching day and night. We have been kinder, nicer, a bit more patient.

We have gone on with daily life with prayers on silent repeat, their names always on our hearts.

We have watched mothers stand strong and we have taken strength from them.

We have watched as news outlets reported that ‘settlers’ were ‘missing’. We watched as our peace partners celebrated the stealing of our boys.

And Sunday night, Sunday night 80,000 of us came together and sang and prayed and showed the families that we stood together, united behind them.

These boys and their incredible families brought us together. A nation with many differences of opinions on almost every issue focused on one goal with one heart — bringing the boys home.

Our prayers were not answered as we wanted. The boys are gone. Murdered.

But we will not break. We will not be defeated.

We will stay strong. We will love our children, all of our children. And we will not let them break us.

Those who murder teenagers, who steal them, point a gun at them and shoot them in cold blood. Who dump them and then run like cowards. We will find you. You will never know a moment’s peace.

But we, we will go on. We will build and we will grow. We will love and we will laugh.

We will learn that we are stronger, better, when we are together with one heart.

We will never forget you Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali.  We will never forget what you did for us these 18 days. We will honor your memories and care for your families. And we will make you proud.

Am Yisrael Chai

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