I have an idea for another in my continuing series of “nostalgia” pieces for this blog. I plan to post it by the end of the week. But, now is not the time for light, humorous writing.
The kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in what by all accounts is an act of terror is on all of our minds and legitimately pushes away any attempt at humor. It is a despicable act and our anger and disgust at those who performed the act and those, including leaders of Hamas, who have defended it or glorified it are legitimate and appropriate.
I pray for the safe return of these three students and for comfort for their families and communities. I can not imagine the pain that these families must endure and I hope that the government of Israel will be able to find them, return them safely to their homes and that those who perpetrated the act are brought to justice.
It is a time for anger, tears and for sadness.
But, as much as we legitimately focus our sadness and our tears on these young men and their families, we need to remember as well that so many other families on both sides of the conflict have suffered so deeply over the years. Deaths in war, terrorism, the persecution that comes from occupation, kidnapping, arrests, home demolitions.. the list can go on and on. And, while I will say again that at this moment, our anger and our pain is focused on this act, our tradition and our humanity calls on us to see the big picture as well and realize that suffering is found in so many, many places in Israel and the Occupied territories (and yes, I do use the word “occupation” as do so many in Israel and throughout the world). These three young men are uppermost in our minds right now but there are countless other people of all ages who have suffered so deeply from the conflict and lack of progress in peace negotiations.
There are those who will argue that a two state solution would result in increased acts of this kind and that Israel would be foolish to ever agree to a Palestinian state. There are those who will take the position, as I have done, that an end to the occupation and self-determination for the Palestinians is not only right morally but pragmatically as well.
We can leave all of those discussions for another time. That is not important today. What is important is the return of these young men and the ability for all Israelis and Palestinians, to feel safe in their homes with the dignity, human rights and security that all deserve.
May Eyal Yifrah,Gil-Ad Shaer, and Naftali Frenkel return home safely and may the families of all of those who suffer from violence, persecution and terror find comfort in a dedication of leaders, against all of the roadblocks that exist, to find a way to live peacefully with each other.