Last updated July 20th 2014

It is the day after the bodies of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali were found just outside of Hebron in the West Bank. The grief here in Israel is palpable.  I went to the gym last night to work out and only lasted 5 minutes until it was officially confirmed that their bodies had been found.  I simply couldn’t continue knowing that our boys were no longer alive.  All of the people I passed walking home also seemed to know the boys’ fate, and there was not a single hint of a smile on their faces.  As soon as I reached home, I immediately burst into tears, crying to Moshe that it just wasn’t fair.  What had these boys done to deserve this kind of end to their young lives?  There is no good answer.

Last night in Tel Aviv, many gathered to light candles in the boys’ memory just as they had gathered 2 days before in Kikar Rabin to pray for their safe return.  2 days prior there was hope that the boys could be found alive, but last night our worst fears were realized.  While we are mourning the deaths of our boys, many in the Arab community are celebrating.  One of the mothers of the suspected kidnappers told reporters that if it is true that her son is in fact one of the men who kidnapped the boys, she will be proud for the rest of her life.  This sort of statement is sickening and highlights the different between our cultures.  Many (not all) throughout the Arab world celebrate death, while we here celebrate life.

Despite the great pain in this tragedy, it did something that often doesn’t happen which is to unite all segments of Israeli society.  It is horrible that it many times takes tragedies to unite Israel, but that is often the case.  Further to this, Jewish communities and supporters throughout the world, joined the social media “Bring Back Our Boys” campaign, voicing their hope and optimism that the boys would be found.  There is a saying in Judaism that out of darkness comes light.  I pray that the unity we have felt the past two and half weeks will only continue and that the boys’ death will not have been in vain.

Eyal, Gilad, Naftali – for the past two and half weeks we have grown to know you, your hobbies, your loves and the type of boys you were. You were murdered simply for the fact that you are Jewish, which is something that has happened to Jews throughout our existence.  Please know that we will continue to do good in your memories.  Sleep well sweet boys.  You are with us always.