June 12, 2014
In yet another act of terror, Palestinian terrorists kidnapped three Israeli teenage boys from a hitchhiking post who were on their way home from yeshiva. Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach were not serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) but civilians whose bodies Israeli troops found in a field northwest of Hevron eighteen days later on June 30th, 2014. An analysis of the gruesome discovery confirmed Shin Bet suspicions that the two kidnappers executed their captives soon after their abduction.
Writing for the Jerusalem Post nearly two weeks after the abduction, Ben Hartman noted " ... tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Sunday night in a show of unity and prayer, issuing a call for children to be left outside of the violence of the Mideast conflict."
How exactly does one do that when your "peace partner" straps "dummy suicide bombs" to his young children and poisens their innocence by implanting within them the seeds of a virulent strain of Jew-hatred? Make no mistake about it. War has always victimized children whether by accident or design.
“Take a young man, brought up by his parents to be decent and honest. Attended religious school as a child. Put a uniform on that young man and all the rules change. He does pretty much as he wishes. There are all kinds of crimes committed by soldiers in war: the good guys and the bad guys. Crimes against property, civilians, women, children, you wouldn't believe it if I told you."*
There was once a time not too long ago when Israel was the hero of the "underdog world"; albeit a short-lived hero worship inspired by the successive victories of Israel on the battlefield against overwhelming odds but, as invariably happens, the pendulum of popular opinion swings back.
Unlike other sovereign nations, Israel does not enjoy the recognition accorded other nations that a sovereign state has the right to defend itself against hostile nations. Case in point: Syria, Egypt, Iran and Iraq and their support of "non-national entities": Hamas and Al Queda-both of which have repeatedly declared their objective to be the eradication of Israel and the Jewish people. Yet, every time Israel strikes back, the nations of the world urge its restraint. Meanwhile, anti-Israel activism is making great strides in turning thousands of American college and university students into anti-Semites.
Ask a patriot of any country how its government would respond if a neighboring “non-national entity” were to launch hundreds of rockets into its territory, taking the lives of civilian non-combatants, destroying their homes and communities? Would anyone but the aggressors question the sovereign’s right to defend itself with at least an equal amount of deadly force?
In the immediate aftermath of the kidnapping, Jews from around the globe gathered together in their synagogues and houses of study to pray from “Sefer Tehilim”** for the safe return of the three captives.
When the truth became known, many asked why the prayers of so many devout Jews went unanswered. The premise, that there are prayers to which G-d turns a “deaf ear”, contains a fatal flaw.Though at times it may seem this way to the average supplicant, the theological truth of the matter is G-d “hears and listens” to all prayers, but He does not accede to every request/plea brought to His attention. Disappointed he did not get his way, the supplicant claims his prayer has gone unanswered.
“I have a spiritual world, but it doesn't lessen any pain and it doesn't promise me anything because G-d doesn't work for me. It's not some kind of trick that if I pray hard enough, he'll just show up," explained Rachelle Fraenkel, bereaved mother of sixteen-year old Naftali.
Will any lasting good ever come from the murders of these three young men?
We can only hope the nations of the world will begin to see the true face of Israel more clearly through the eyes of one of its bereaved mothers.
*Excerpt from the author's interview with A.I. Busch, Brigadier General, retired, United States Army
** Sefer Tehilim, the biblical Book of Psalms. Jewish tradition attributes most of its authorship to the muse of King David. A poetic commentary on the human condition, its one hundred and fifty chapters are an exegesis of mankind's relationship with and dependency on The Creator for its daily reawakening.