For Eyal, Naftali and Gil-ad. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.

I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the murder of the three boys that were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists 18 days ago! There is no justification this earth for what the monsters who did this have done. Many people will have seen Rachelle Fraenkels speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council this week on Youtube or some other online video platform. I was in the assembly hall at the time representing the European Union of Jewish Students and while I was lucky enough to be there to witness Rachelle’s incredible speech first-hand, I was also unlucky enough to be there both before and after to witness at least 10 other speeches made by anti-Israel NGO’s essentially condemning the 3 boys for being “Settlers”.

The assembly hall of the UN HRC during Rachelles speech.
The assembly hall of the UN HRC during Rachelles speech.

After Rachelle made her impassioned plea to the body which is ostensibly responsible for protecting the world from human rights abusers I expected to hear a shocked outcry from those present; that or at least some sort of stunned silence. Unfortunately that was not what happened; instead the room acted like nothing had been said at all and simply moved right along. In Rachelles own words; these were “good, sweet boys”! They had done nothing to anybody, they were murdered simply for being Jews. What is wrong with world when those who are meant to be protecting us for human rights abusers sit back and do nothing, SAY NOTHING?! Over the past 18 days we have seen one of the sad truths of the Jewish people, that it is at our lowest points when we are brought closest together! I have felt more achdut (brotherhood) amongst Jews in the past few weeks than I have done in years. What can our answer be though to the tragic death of Eyal, Naftali and Gil-ad? I have seen so many prayers and positive messages posted online in the last few weeks but I have also seen hundreds of other posts that were basically nothing more than racist, Arab bashing. Our communal response cannot be one of hate, crimes like this are committed by people not by a whole race! We cannot reduce ourselves to the level of the scum who did this heinous crime! The response to this tragic loss must be one of hope! This week I am going to make sure that I do 3 mitzvot, one for each of the boys that have been taken from us. I hope that everyone who reads this will join with me in this initiative. Interpret the word mitzvah any way you want, if you want it to mean doing three good deeds then do them, if you want it to be putting on tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles then do that. This should be something that is both personal and communal though, showing that we can continue to increase this feeling of ahavat chinam (groundless love) even when we are at our lowest points as a nation.

May the families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet!

About the Author
Yosef Tarshish is the communications manager for WUJS (the World Union of Jewish Students) and is the immediate past president of the Union of Jewish Students of the UK & Ireland. He holds a BA (Hons) in Youth & Community Work from Manchester Metropolitan University. He is passionate about post-denominational Judaism, global Jewish people-hood and creative community development. Yosef made aliyah to Jerusalem in July 2014 and is living his #Aliyadventure to the absolute max.
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