Eyal, Gilad and Naftali — a response

How should Israel respond to the brutal murder of three schoolboys?

“Proportionately,” The World says. “With restraint.” As if it is the hallmark of a civilised society that it views coolly and dispassionately the slaughter of its young.

“They were illegal settlers,” say the fellow-travellers with Palestinian rejectionism. “They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.” Jews are unlawful interlopers in Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish history. The teenagers invited their savage demise by failing to acquiesce in the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from the heart of their homeland.

“Work with the Palestinian Authority to bring the killers to justice,” says the Left. As if the PA really exists outside a smattering of heavily guarded buildings in Ramallah. Hamas may have done the bloody deed but let us not pretend that Hamas alone found joy in the destruction of Jewish lives.

“Kill the killers,” says the Right. “Or throw them in jail.” As if jihadists are a finite resource in Palestinian society. As if they would not be replaced tomorrow by younger, fierier shahids. As if a few more Palestinian funerals will even the score, solve the problem. Throw them in jail? Of course. Now, guarantee me they won’t be freed in the next round of terrorist releases.

I don’t know how Israel should respond. All I know is this: My heart aches for those boys, for their parents and loved-ones, for every friend they have been snatched from. Ha’makom yenahem etkhem betokh she’ar avelei Tziyon vi’Yerushalayim.

My heart aches that Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel will never again join a minyan, never again strap on tefillin, never again listen to their fathers recite kiddush on Shabbat, never grow up to have children who will listen to them recite kiddush. Baruch dayan ha-emet. 

Tonight I feel a burning, righteous rage. Raid. Bomb. Annex Judea and Samaria. Hashem yikom damam. Tomorrow I will be calmer and the next day calmer still. But is calmness a virtue? Should we not be angry? Maybe the Zahal is the only solution. Maybe the only way yeshiva students can walk safely in Alon Shvut, Kedumim, and Revava is if an Israeli flag flies over Nablus, Qalqilya, and Jenin.

I will leave these questions to the politicians for now. My own response? Revenge may be the prerogative of G-d but there is a justice that men can exact: To go on living, building, praying, raising families, and sending boys to yeshiva. In short, be Jewish. Ela sheb’chol dor va-dor omdim aleinu lechaloteinu; v’ha-kadosh baruch hu matzilenu miyadam. 

Remember, survive, flourish. Pray for Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali z”l and hold their families in your heart.

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