There is no other news in this country right now. There is simply nothing else to think about, to talk about, to write about.
My boys are missing. Three of them.
They aren’t missing – they’ve been taken – kidnapped – abducted by people whose sole goal in life is to destroy us. To tear us down at our root. To hit us at our core. They handed out candy in Gaza when they heard of the abduction.
The news does an amazing job of trying to turn the tables. Most of the articles that I’ve read continually refer to the boys as settlers – not as human beings, Israelis, Jews, 16-year old kids. No – they are settlers. Which of course, allows them to take the pressure off a bit. If they were settlers, then they deserved this, they had it coming, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And let’s throw into the mix the other point they love to emphasize. They were hitchhiking. Well, then they definitely deserved to be kidnapped.
Let’s get something straight. If you don’t live here, if you aren’t walking in my shoes at this very moment on the soil of Eretz Yisrael, then you just don’t have the full picture.
We ALL hitchhike. We live in very small communities here in Gush Etzion and many people don’t have cars. Even those who have cars typically have only one in the family. And if the kids need to get to school (which can be very far away, in particular for high school boys like Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel), then they have to rely on the bus system and on the help of neighbors and friends.
These boys were kidnapped five minutes from my home at an intersection where virtually all of our kids, and many adults, take rides. People drive by all the time taking the passengers to the local communities or to Jerusalem. It’s the way the country works.
Every parent that I’ve seen on the street has a stunned look of desperation on their faces. And we all mumble the same thing. “But my kids are there all the time. My kids tremp (take rides) everywhere. What if?”
And then we avert our eyes, wipe our tears and sigh with the what-ifs heavy on our lips.
Because it’s not a what-if for the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach.
And that means that it’s not a what-if for us.
These boys go to school with many of my neighbors.
Not to mention the active-duty soldier sons in our yishuv who were called up over Shabbat; whose parents are now wringing their hands as well, hoping that their boys come home safely.
These boys are my sons. And my heart is bleeding.
All of our hearts are bleeding.
There is no other news in this country at the moment. These are our boys.
I can’t tear my mind away from thoughts of their fears, their horror, their desperation. What in Gd’s name are they going through? What are their families going through? I try to stop myself from thinking about it, but it’s the only topic of conversation.
And how do you explain to your children who want to be safe, who want to be taken care of, who take rides because it’s how they can get around, that they are still safe?
There is no other news.
And there should be no other news in every Jewish community in the world right now, and in every Jewish news source.
Because nothing else matters until our boys are returned home safely.