Monday, June 30, 2014

May God Avenge Their Blood

The Deepest of Pain

Prime Minister David Cameron is deeply saddened. The White House condemns in the strongest terms...already we know that even if Obama had bothered to interrupt his vacation, it likely would not have made a difference. The boys were murdered shortly after the kidnappings. I can only pray that the families find comfort in this. They were found bound together, I can only pray they were never separated and at least had each other.

Deeply saddened - doesn't come close to what I am feeling. I went with a group of women from my community to the prayer tent outside the Frenkel home in Nof Ayalon. By the time we got there - there were already rumors. A neighbor took in a large group of women and gave us space to say Psalms. One of my neighbors, a learned woman who readily shares her knowledge and love of God's laws and holy writings, showed incredible strength by giving the shiur (lesson) she had intended to give in the tent. She spoke beautifully and clearly for about 40 the news spread through the group, as women quietly checked their phones for news and one by one began to cry. The bodies had been found. 

I can't think of a more difficult setting for giving a class...and still the woman spoke...beautifully. Her voice cracked a few times and I felt bad for encouraging her to give the class; I thought for sure she understood by the tears that all hope was gone. But she had no way of knowing and so she ended the class with the optimism she had come to give, may the boys return...and then, as more women cried and we told her they had found the bodies, it was all over.

I am a bundle of tears and anger. One moment, the tears win out. The next, the anger burns so brightly. I want...I want to hurt them so badly - for the psychological torture they once again inflicted on Israel and on these three precious families. For the pain they have caused these precious families. For changing three families forever. For breaking the hearts of three mothers, if not their souls. I want to flatten their homes, their cities, their world. I want to curse their god, in whose name they say they acted. Endless are the things my brain can think of in these agonizing hours.

I'm allowed to feel this now - partially because I know my country will never do this, my army will never do this. We will cry, we will mourn. We, unlike them, don't kill innocents; we don't wage war on children. We are not cowards. We don't hide behind our women and children. We don't - they do.

We will...God will we bury them tomorrow? We will because that is what we do. We are the Jewish people, yes, chosen by God because we accepted His Torah, His laws. We accepted that we do not murder. We do not steal. We do not harm the innocent. We live according to our honor and for all that the world judges us by double standards, we live up to our need to be a holy people. We are holy. We are united. We will not allow...that's right...we will not allow them to attack our children, our babies, and walk away unharmed. We are not the Jews of the 18th century, the 14th century.

We have reclaimed OUR land; that's right - OUR land. Ours - by right, by might, by history, by every law known to God and man and yes, even by the twisted meanderings of a culture that is sick enough to be celebrating and yelling "allah akbar".

I try to push the anger away, but then the crippling sadness returns. I'm better with the anger; at least then my eyes are not pouring out tears. But along with the anger and the tears, I have to say one thing. To those who think otherwise, right now, I need to explain - no prayer is wasted. All of Israel prayed these 18 days - it was not wasted.

There are tragedies in life I cannot understand. I don't understand this one. It does not change the essence of my faith in God. There is a plan...we don't know it; we don't have to. But I promise you, there is a plan and hard as it is to accept this was part of it. God did not murder these boys; but God (and Israel) will punish those who did. To the end of eternity, they will suffer for what they Eyal, Gilad and their the nation and people of Israel.

Tonight and tomorrow, this week and this month and this year and beyond, we will mourn for Eyal, for Gilad, for Naftali. Perhaps already tomorrow, they will be buried. Their families will continue to be surrounded by love and community and they will never be able to think they didn't do all they could to bring them back. 

They will never be alone with their pain and from the love of a nation, they will draw what comfort they can. The mothers each have other children who need them - they will rise up to this because of all that we learned of them for 18 days, we saw strength. Their families need them now...they will help their families, and we will help them.

And we will curse the culture that birthed these killers. That too is our right. This is a culture that celebrates the death of a child, three children. Naftali will never play ping pong again. Eyal will not sing at his friend's wedding. Gilad - what will his sisters do without Gilad?

I thought of so many messages as I drove back from Nof Ayalon tonight. 

The first was to the killers - congratulations, I wanted to tell them. You successfully murdered three children. What brave men you are, what heroes you are. Your mothers are proud of you...and perhaps for that I pity you most. With mothers like that, no wonder you grew into the twisted animals you are. 

They think you are heroes; they think you are brave. It doesn't really take much bravery to murder three children, but never'll have to be very brave now because the most successful and brave men, the real heroes in this world, our sons, will be hunting you now. You won't last long. It may take a week, a few weeks, it might even take months. You'll live these last days, weeks, or months hiding like the sniveling cowards you are. 

There will be true justice. Perhaps it will take 18 days before you are caught, one day for each of the days you made these families and these nations suffer. But whether man's justice takes days or weeks or months or years, God's justice is eternal. When you meet God; then you will understand. Then and only then, will you pay the price for what you have done. Gilad, Naftali and Eyal are with God now, in a better place, loved and cherished...your future, God knows.

I hope, I pray, I beg our soldiers to kill you in the firefight that will come. And so the next message is to Israel's soldiers. Please, please find a way. I don't care what the world says now - let them die. We have no death penalty in Israel; the only one we have ever put to death in 66 years is Adolf Eichmann for crimes against the Jewish people.

So please, find a way, this time, let them die. Don't bring them to "justice", to Israel's courts. They'll be convicted and sentenced to life in prison - where their wives will come visit and they'll breed more children in hate. They'll study in prison and get a university degree and they'll watch the World Cup. And then some stupid Israeli leader will release them for another kidnapped victim...or worse, the bodies of the kidnapped victims. 

In those seconds when the battle rages, may your aim be true. The world will condemn us no matter what we do - better they condemn us for the deaths of these murderers, than they condemn us for throwing them in jail and then when the murderers declare a hunger strike, demand that we release them. In those seconds, when you have them in range, end it. For Naftali. For Eyal. For Gilad. For their mothers. For Israel. End it.

And the final message is to the Israeli government. We are watching you. We need to believe in you now. You know the anger and the pain of Jewish blood being taken this way. Act now. Do something - stop this from ever happening again.

Words from Israelis on the Front Line

Today, the Gaza area is once again Israel's "hottest" fronts - which is quite a thing to say, considering that we are currently experiencing a major heat wave.

Better than any words I could write to explain what life is like there...are notes I am getting from friends. Here are some of them - please share this and if you leave a note, I'll make sure my friends get it.

From Friend # 1
I tried to take a walk with my daughter and dog to the bus stop this morning. We left the house at 6:55, got about 200 meters down the path and heard the sound of two rockets being launched. As we are so close, we hear the launch, the alarm and then the sound of the ground being punched. We ran, me with two bags of rubbish, the dog's lead (dog attached) and DD. We made it to the patio entrance of one of houses on the kibbutz where we waited for the sound of the rocket landing. We heard the ground being punched and then went back home. Needless to say I forgot to throw the rubbish out.
 From Friend # 2

For those of you that know where my kids go to school,that's where the kassam rocket landed earlier this morning. It landed in the yard of an elderly couple that are now being treated for shock. My kids are supposed to be having a fun last day of school filled with outdoor activities....It's not happening! In the yeshiva on the same yishuv, the 11th grade students are writing a physics bagrut (exam). How are they supposed to concentrate while running for cover?

Someone.....answer me.....please.

Someone answer me, please...

What words can I offer while I sit here in my office about an hour's drive away. Safe, secure, and agonizing while they are there, while their children are there. How are children taking a matriculation exam in a subject like Physics supposed to concentrate?

I just saw a video taken by a field worker...he heard the whine of the incoming missile and tried to videotape it...he was low to the ground - he had no chance in the 10 seconds allocated him to run anywhere so he was in the safest possible position available. The whine got louder, you hear the loud boom, and even knowing the sound was coming, the missile was approaching, he lost his grip on the camera. Every day now...someone answer them, please.

Why must they live this way? What right do the Palestinians have to attack one million people who are doing nothing to harm them? If they would spend half the resources they waste on tunnels, explosives and missiles, they could live a good life. If they would take care of their homes and fix their sewer system instead of allowing the raw sewage to pollute the once beautiful beaches, they took could have beautiful communities and a prosperous land.

What right do they have to harm others? None...just none.

They have no right to shoot rockets at our cities, no right to terrorize our children, no right to kidnap our boys.

What A Child Should Never Know

From a friend who lives very close to Gaza...thank you, Devorah, for sharing your life with those who are trying so hard to understand what it is like to live under the threat of constant missile attack.

Devorah wrote:
The principal of one of the schools in Eshkol is being interviewed. She is telling us how the teachers are waiting by the bus stops and running with the children for safety into the protected classrooms. The children "are used to the sirens and know how to react" she calmly stated.

How sad that this is how Israeli children living in their homeland have to spend their last day of school.

And what will be during the summer?
The children know how to this to a post I made in 2009, during the Gaza war. Aliza was 9 years old and by mistake, the Home Command issued an alert for the Jerusalem - Beit Shemesh area, including our home and Aliza's school, instead of Beer Sheva. I don't know the mechanics of how the mistake was made, but this was the result: A Child's Alarm.

Years ago, the words that broke my heart (spoken by my daughter) were: "It was so scary the siren. I wasn't ready for it." And now my heart breaks again because in Southern Israel, the children are ready for it.

Back in 2009, Aliza's reported on the mistaken alarm:

"It was so scary. It was me and two girls and they were crying. I wasn't supposed to be there. I was supposed to go to the other room. So I just ran to a different one and then the teacher closed the door so fast. He was so worried, he didn't know what to do. And then the teacher was going to the different rooms. And I kept telling the other girls to stop crying and I just told them it was an exercise because I didn't want them to cry and cry and cry. I didn't know it was an exercise, but I just told them. And then the teacher said we could go out. And than Naama cried because she has two cousins that live in Ashdod and she was crying.

"We had tons of kids that cried. Even Rena cried even though she doesn't cry every time. It was so scary the siren. I wasn't ready for it.

"They said it was supposed to be in Beersheva but instead they did our school. But the city did it as a mistake to our school and Jerusalem and not Beersheva. It was scary. Like suddenly - wee--ooo, wee-ooo. And Tehilla didn't know what it was because in America they don't have this. And we did an exercise, but it wasn't a real siren and now it was. And so I told Tehilla, 'just come'."

The Speech We Have Been Waiting for Obama to Make

but he hasn', not at all.

Israel's thanks go to Senator Ted Cruz...thank you.

"Just imagine if these were your children"

"Just imagine..."

Day 18 - L'Chaim

Day 18

In Judaism, 18 has a very special place in our hearts and our actions. Eighteen is the numerical value of "Chai" - life. Eighteen is a lucky number. We celebrate the 18th year of life as something special; the 18th year of marriage. We often give presents in multiples of 18.

Right before Elie's wedding, he was involved in a car accident, caused by bad road conditions and even worse safety design by the city of Modiin. Residents told us that accidents happen there "all the time" - Elie was just one of many but according to the laws of the road, he was at fault. He wasn't speeding or doing anything wrong, but apparently, in the dark, in an unlit section, he was supposed to have seen the STOP sign that Modiin put in the wrong place.

He was ordered to show up in court - and the court date came just 2 days after his wedding. I drove Elie and Lauren to court and unbeknownst to us, apparently the judge drove in right after us and noticed the wedding decorations still on the car.

When it came to Elie's turn, the judge asked when he was married and when she gave him a fine, she lowered the standard amount so it would be a multiple of 18 - of life.

So, today is the 18th day that the boys  - Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali - have been held in captivity. Not once, contrary to international law, have the kidnappers (read here Hamas) allowed the Red Cross to see the boys. Not once have they had the decency (as if you can expect decency from terrorists, cowards and thugs) to even allow the parents a sign that the boys are well.

Today, we are all praying this will, now. Over 80,000 people gathered last night (according to the organizers and YNET). I wasn't there. I'm just not up to standing and getting bumped around in a crowd, but  my heart was there.

Day 18 - time to end this today.

Bring back our boys, Gaza - the God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. Cursed will be those who threaten or harm His people, and cursed you are. If you spent half your energy for life and not for death, for your people and not against ours - even just half, all our lives would be so much better.

Day 18 - we pray for the lives of Naftali, Eyal, and Gilad.

A Rocket Attack: Terror in Real Time

This is reposted with permission from a friend of mine who lives very close to Gaza. She's been living with these rockets for so very long. More, she lives this in real time. I live it in attack plus a few minutes. I don't hear the sirens, the announcement "Color Red. Color Red. Color Red."

Four times in my life I have had to run into a bomb shelter, not knowing if a missile would hit nearby. Once it was in Ashkelon during the Gaza War; three times it was during Operation Pillar of Defense. In Ashkelon, a house nearby suffered a direct hit. Four times in my life...I can't imagine going through this four times in a month, a week, even a single day.

This is what happened...a few hours ago...imagine for a moment, if it was you in the storage room under your house or apartment.

From Esther, who lives in the town of Netivot:
What a royal pain in the bu*t! Those horrible folks in Gaza just threw another rocket into my town, Netivot, Israeli territory since 1948. I was in our storage room under our apt. building where I store the items for my 'poor brides fund.' Suddenly we heard the sound of the shriek. This was the sound of the iron dome which successfully shot down 1 or 2 rockets right above the synagogue across the street from my home.

The siren went off AFTER the iron dome went into action. I am NOT scared- I had to calm down everyone around me; remember to lock my storage room and run up the stairway to relative safety when we heard the BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMS of the rockets being shot down by.

You folks abroad shouldn't know from this crap. This "present" from Gaza is because 15,000 of our soldiers are going from door to door (in over 100 degree heat) in Judea and Samaria looking for 3 kidnapped teenagers who were picked up as hitchikers on their way home from school 16 days ago. Apparently the Chamas and other terrorist groups are unhappy that we are doing this.

Oh, by the way, the folks who did this were terrorists released in previous releases that Israel was forced to make as "gestures of peace."

What peace? With who? People who target civilians and do so from within their own heavily populated areas to try to avoid retaliation? It takes two to tango.

Thank you Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry for our present untenable situation.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 17 - Brings Unity and Determination

Seventeen days since every mother's nightmare became reality for three mothers in Israel. Today there was a massive rally in Tel Aviv - tens of thousands of people attended. And what they did - was sing and pray and call for the release of our kidnapped boys.

The parents of the boys were there - and they were touched and overwhelmed by the amazing outpouring of support. Day 17 comes as part of a new week and a new determination. We will not let the boys slip away - not from our lives, not from our efforts.

The Palestinians have raised the level of violence - more rockets in the last few days, more stoning attacks. This is their pattern - they know Israel will respond and when we do, the world will turn its attention to the Palestinians, as perhaps they have done most often in the past. This time, we can only hope they will see this as the manipulation it is - LOOK at what THEY are doing, world, LOOK. They kidnapped our boys; THEY fired rockets that blew up a factory in a town. THEY hold they key to stopping the violence...

The people gathered tonight in Tel Aviv, as they have in Jerusalem - in prayer, in song - demanding that the world pay attention and do all it can to BRING OUR BOYS BACK.

And as the people gathered, heard speeches and sang, six rockets were fired at Israel.

But at the rally, songs, prayers and hope...

One of the songs:  

Guard the World, Child...

Dare you to watch this and not cry...go on...try....

I didn't manage it, so don't feel bad if you don't manage it...or maybe, maybe you should feel bad if you do manage.

Please God, bring the boys back home - safe and sound, healthy and fast.

The song is right...they can never kill our soul....never...

Thank God I have a mother who drives me crazy...

Sometimes, you just have to laugh when your children say something.

Aliza called to tell me she wanted to go to her friend's house. It is very hot outside, very hot. I asked her to take a bottle of water with her.

"Ima, I'm going to Shira's house!" Shira lives at the top of the hill- maybe 10 houses away.

"I don't care," I responded. "Please take water with you."

Of all my children, Aliza is the best negotiator. From the time she was little, negotiation was almost an automatic reaction. You can stay up for 30 more minutes...can I stay up for an hour? You can have one cookie...can I have two?

"I'll take a pop-ice with me," she answered, rather than the water.

It really is only 10 houses away..."okay," I answered, "but please don't stay outside. And if you do, make sure you put suntan lotion on."


"I mean it," I said.

To which she responded, "thank God I have a mother who drives me crazy."

Yeah! I agree. We're all a little more sensitive to the idea that the accident could have been so much more serious and so we enjoy the simple fact that I'm here to drive her crazy, to attend Davidi's high school graduation, to just be here.

And the other thing I'll say is that Bibi should really consider hiring Aliza for the next round of negotiations.

Google Doesn't Lie

Okay, I accept that the Google search engine is not the definitive way to describe an issue or conflict, but still, it is often a lot more honest than the UN.

If you search for "Rockets from Australia" - you get a bunch of hits about building model rockets.

If you search for "Rockets from Peru" - you get proud announcements of all Peruvian-developed rockets that can reach outer space.

They're very proud of their rockets. If you search for "Rockets from Gaza" or "Rockets from Israel" - you get almost identical results - page after page, millions of websites - and most report about rocket attacks FROM Gaza, hitting Israel.

Yasir Arafat (may his memory be erased and may all that he worked for be damned), once said the rockets being fired at Israel were toys, nothing to worry about, that they never hurt anyone. Lies upon lies spoken by one of the best Palestinian liars ever. Although, to be honest, he has excellent competition from today's Palestinian leaders - including at least one who "serves" in the Israeli Knesset.

What is amazing is that there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to "List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel 2014". Each entry is documented, cited, proven.

There were 9 rocket/mortar attacks in January, at least 6 in February, more than 65 in March, and at least 26 in April.

Two rockets were fired in May, along with a mortar barrage on May 23rd. And this month, at least 30 rockets have been fired, including this one - that hit a factory, injuring 4.

Don't tell me that rockets don't injure people, that they are just toys. That no one was killed has nothing to do with the missile or the one who fired it, and everything to do with God.

And this is more of the result - it burned for hours. Please don't tell me this is not terrorism. Please don't tell me they were aiming at a military target. And please, please don't tell me they want peace.

Direct hit on a factory in Sderot...this is the face of the Palestinian threat we face every day, in every part of our country. Imagine the absolute terror of having a quiet Saturday evening, close to twilight, explode all around you. This was an act of war - nothing less.

The factory burned for hours...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This is Israel - Benny Gantz Speaking to the Soldiers

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaking to the soldiers - THIS is Israel.

The Innocence that Is Still Theirs

Tomorrow, my youngest son graduates from high school. Davidi is 18 and a half years old. I have to start calling him David and not least I have to try.

Next year, he will go to learn in a Hesder Academy for one year. In between learning Jewish laws and rituals, he will begin learning the laws of war, what the Jewish religion allows him to do, and what it does not. He will learn, though he already knows, that to save a life, you can break almost all of the laws of the Torah.

After next year, he'll spend two years in the army and then decide if he wants to do a third year in the army or one more year in Hesder. When he's finished, like his brothers, he will begin serving in the national reserves.

It's these last precious moments of youth for him. He's there on the edge of tomorrow, even if he doesn't really understand what that means yet. He and his friends decided to celebrate by having a barbecue tonight. They bought meat and drinks - it's all set up.

The only thing is, the dorm where they are right now, really. It smells from the smoke of a raging forest fire that is about one neighborhood away from where they are now. I asked him if he was coming home by SMS text.

He responded that they haven't been told to evacuate yet and that he could smell the fire from his dorm. He could see the planes flying low as they fought the fire as it edged towards Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Memorial, which is less than 1/2 a mile from his dorm.

"The rail cars would be the first to burn," he explained to me. If they don't succeed in stopping the fires in time, the WWII-era rail cars used to carry Jews to the concentration camps would be lost. This has particular meaning to Davidi because it was only a few months ago that he visited Auschwitz and Treblinka, other camps, ghettos and Jewish cemeteries.

I was worried about him getting stuck there, unable to get out. How will you get out, I asked him. He told me the train had already been stopped in that area, but they could walk towards the center of Jerusalem. He wasn't worried.

I asked him again if he wanted to come home and he told me that they were having a barbecue.

"Jerusalem is on fire and you're having a barbecue?" I asked him.

"We already bought the meat," he answered.

There is something so simple, so 18ish about that answer. That's what I want for my children; that's what we all want. Sometimes the world overwhelms them...and us.

Davidi is very aware of the kidnapped boys, of what is happening. He knows that the fires he smells were set by arsonists, most likely Palestinians. This is an annual event. Hundreds of fires have been set, intentionally destroying beautiful forests. Davidi knows this. He is very aware of the news and what is happening. He serves regularly on the ambulance squad...he has seen people die and he has saved lives. He's only 18...I'm not sure I ever wanted this for my sons...

I don't begrudge Davidi this moment of freedom, this time when the biggest thing in his life is the barbecue he is now having with his friends. I don't think he is being insensitive. I think most of all, he is being 18 and I love that so much.

For many of us, it's hard to be ourselves right now. We are filled with worry and concern. Throughout the day, we listen, we check, we worry, we think.

Day 13 has hit me very hard. The longer it goes on, the worse it is. I have to believe that Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, whether together or separated, know that all of Israel is fighting for them. We are searching, we are trying to bring them home. Their mothers are being so strong, for them and for the rest of their families.

They flew to Geneva, spoke to the Israeli Knesset and untold numbers of media representatives. And with quiet dignity, they tell each one that all they want is for their sons to come home; to sleep in their own beds, to be hugged by their families. It should be the right of every child, they tell the world, to come home safely from school.

They are strong women fighting for the lives of their sons. They have empowered all of us with their strength.

A little while ago, I spoke to Davidi on the phone. The fires that were set to destroy are now under control. Davidi and his friends are enjoying the last night of high school. Somewhere, Eyal and Gilad and Naftali are settling down to another night in captivity.

Please God, let this be the last night. Please let them come and well.


Rumors are flying around Israel today, as they have since the start of this horrible ordeal. Once again, I go scrambling through websites to find whether something has happened. Terrified the news won't be good; desperately hoping they have been found well and safe and will soon be home.

In the morning it was a ridiculous article full of assumptions about how the kidnapping happened. Some may be true; some may be guessing. Little of it is authorized. Why must people talk about this when we know not much more than we did at the start? Oh someone knows, I hope - and that someone or those someones are our soldiers. They are looking, searching. Yes, waiting is hard but creating rumors don't help.

She heard it from someone, who heard it from someone...maybe from a policeman...does that make it credible? It doesn't matter what the rumor is - nothing matters until we know, until it is official. We are just torturing ourselves for nothing. Just rumors.

I check the international news sites regularly because they will ignore an Israeli-ordered gag order. Long before anything is announced to Israel, there will be something written somewhere. I am desperate to know now. No matter what news there is (or isn't), first the families will be told. That's the right way to do it - the only way to do it. Slowly, it will leak out, as it did from the beginning.

It never ceases to amaze me how the heart can jump when the brain knows otherwise. Nothing is true until it is announced. All just rumors. Good news. Bad news. No news. Some news. We are prisoners waiting to be free; we are mothers waiting for word. They aren't our sons, and yet they are. Always ours too.

Davidi left for school last night. After 2 hours, I sent him a note - are you in school?

I am so worried about the boys. I am so desperate to see the pictures of their mothers hugging them.

The spurt of adrenalin that came with the rumor has backed off and I'm left with a sick feeling in my stomach. I just want them home...

Day 13 is so much worse than Day 12...Tomorrow will be even worse. Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks that they are gone.

The mothers and fathers of these boys must always know that they did everything they could to bring their boys home. No mother could do more. Stories are coming out about the moments before, during and after the kidnapping. I leave comments and ask people to remove what they have written. Why let the Palestinians know how much we know? Why hint that we know who or what or when?

All that is important is that we do what we can and while the soldiers search and the politicians talk, we are tasked with praying for the boys. It is all we can do.

Three beautiful boys - I see their smiles, I see videos of them singing and playing. Please God, we need them to come home safe. Please, please, bring our boys back soon.

Why the UN is an Abomination

No words are needed. Call for restraint? The Palestinians are working to maintain order? The boys are just "missing"?

God destroyed the cities of Sodom and is hard to believe they committed any abomination worse than what is seen in this video. Nation by nation, they line up...and show their truest nature.

Amazing how these people, one by one, are allowed to get away with such the UN abomUNation. It makes me ashamed to breathe the same air as they do.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day Twelve Ends in Befuddlement

Day Twelve began in Israel with news of an amazing speech by Rachel Frenkel at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

But later in the day, disappointing news was released. The Israeli Cabinet has voted to reduce the crackdown on Hamas because of the start of Ramadan in the coming days.

If only the Palestinians would show half the amount of concern for our sons as the Israeli cabinet does for theirs, we might have a chance at peace.

The Chief of Staff admitted he has growing concerns over the boys' condition as we come to close to the two week mark from the time the boys were taken.

Gaza fired four rockets at Israel today - two were shot down by Iron Dome, another hit a structure in Israel - damage, but no injuries and the fourth fell inside Gaza wounding four Palestinians whose names are likely to be added to the UN roster of casualties for which we are blamed.

I understand the Chief of Staff, though I am not sure what good his announcement will make. I do not, for the life of me, understand the Israeli Cabinet. Yesterday, we arrested another of the terrorists released for Gilad Shalit - this time with his 18 year old son. The army believes they are responsible for the murder of Baruch Mizrachi, an Israeli father of five who was murdered in a shooting ambush attack while on the way to his in-laws home for the Passover holiday. His wife and 9-year-old were wounded.

Why? Why are we easing up the search and the arrest of known terrorist suspects? Why? Did we find the boys? Did we run out of terrorists to arrest? Have they all been disarmed? The answer to all of these is no.

Have they stopped trying to attack us? Obviously not. Have they offered a good will gesture in honor of the approaching month of Tammuz? Nope, not one. How about a sign that the boys are okay? That they are being treated well?

How about anything, Bibi? Anything that will let these families sleep more easily. If not, you have no right to offer gestures to others when you ignore your own.

Day twelve ends as it begin, with many worries, many fears and the desire to understand how Bibi can look into the faces of the families and explain today's actions.

He's Angrier Than Me!

A car accident means paperwork - lots of paperwork, apparently. The insurance company is doing all it can to pay as little as possible. Gee, AIG, so glad I went with you. We paid extra to cover the options we added to the car - now they don't want to cover that.

One option, which came with the car, but is considered scaled up, are magnesium wheels. The insurance company doesn't know if it will cover that or not. Not nice.

I loved Shmulik's answer, "Fine. If you won't pay for them, we'll take them."

AIG rep: "So you'll leave the car without wheels?"

Shmulik: "You can tow it with a rope for all I care."
The best threat was when he listed all the things we'd added and threatened to take them - including the two broken, smashed windows...that should be interesting. Until now, the insurance company has treated this as - ho, hum, another car accident...stamp here, sign here, send this form. Boring.

The hospital personnel were fine but they see this every day.

The first real reaction came from the policeman I just sat with. I had to give my account - it's interesting how much I don't remember and at one point, the policeman in the next desk turned to me and assured me that it was fine if I didn't remember all the details. Totally natural.

The other driver chose not to go to the hospital. If I don't give them the medical records showing that I went, it will be classified as an accident without injuries and the driver will get off much more lightly for running the red light.

"Don't let this get away with this. You have to give the report," the policeman said. 

I haven't been angry about the accident. I'm so grateful to be fine, if bruised and a bit sore. I'm so grateful that Lazer wasn't in the car, more than I can say. But the policeman is right - luck doesn't give this man the right to have driven through a red light. 

Thank God there wasn't a whole family in the car. Thank God the car slammed into the pole with the back door on the driver's side, and not the driver's door, my door. It was good to see the anger of the policeman and it was nice to be treated so kindly, so respectfully. 

I can't count how many times they told me not to worry. I am fine. I am blessed. 

Even if AIG continues to mess around and play games, no one can take this away from me. I walked away from what could have been a really, really bad accident. 

 Thank you, God, for watching over me, for protecting me, for returning me to my family.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day Eleven

After eleven days, the greatest challenge facing the families, I believe, is to maintain faith and hope. The doubts set in, the fear, the worry. They aren't sleeping; they aren't eating. They are praying and reciting Psalms and talking to anyone that will listen.

After eleven days, your heart and brain hurt. You know you have to go on, but in the depths of your heart, you cry all the time.

I went last night again to a prayer meeting here in Maale Adumim. They handed out the same sheet as they did last week. Again I looked at the list of Psalms and prayers and thought to myself, if I can get through the first one, I'll be okay.

This time, I was more bruised than last week (accidents will do that). This time, I sat down more, whereas last time, I stood for the entire time. This time, sadly, we were more organized. This time, we knew what to sing, what to recite silently.

Israeli soldiers are combing through Arab cities, looking, circling, searching and finding weapons and fugitives.

After eleven days...the pressure is showing on the families and the nation.

Idiot of the Day Award...

The Idiot of the Day Award goes to Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki who said:

In the absence of proof, there are three possible scenarios for the issue: The kidnapping could be a childish game on the part of Israel to draw attention to it, it could be part of a larger game to turn the Israelis from aggressors to victims, or maybe they were really kidnapped.

Eleven days and that's the best you can come up with Riyad? Seriously?

Maybe your 16-year-olds disappear for 11 days without speaking to their families, allowing them to worry and fear - but ours don't.

Maybe your 16 and 17-year-olds go to attack innocent people with axes and swords - but ours don't.

Maybe your 16-year-olds call the police and play a game saying "we've been kidnapped," - but ours don't.

And if this really were a plot and if the boys really weren't kidnapped, what is it...the most amazing coincidence in the world that Hamas just called on its members to kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers?

And if this really were a plot and if the boys really weren't kidnapped, why was so much of your society celebrating? Handing out sweets? And giving the disgusting 3-finger salute?

The Age of the Sword

A 17-year-old Arab "boy" was just arrested near a mall in Netanya with a sword and an axe. It's hard to believe he had innocent intentions.

I read the report. My Hebrew is quite good, but it is a functional level of Hebrew. I know the words I need to know, and a few others. For some reason, I knew the word for sword, but stumbled because I was more ready to believe I was translating it incorrectly than that a 17-year-old was attempting to use one. I didn't know the word for axe at all.

I read the words to Elie - who came around to look over my shoulder, not trusting that I was reading the words correctly. "Sword and axe," he translated, and then added, "Where's his bow and arrow?"

I thought of the three boys we are working so hard to get back. Two 16-year-olds and a 19-year-old - Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal. These are our children...and this is theirs - a 17-year-old, already going to make war...

And Elie's next comment made me smile, "Hey, smart guy, we have guns."

Gotta love that kid...but no, he isn't a kid. He's 27, a husband, a father.

The three who were kidnapped are boys. They have never gone to war, never been sent by their parents to attack others. And this 17-year-old, do I call him a boy? He's not a man yet...and certainly, if his "handlers" had their way, he never will be.

Perhaps in the truest sense, this boy's culture has remained in the dark ages, where swords and axes are their weapons.

Now this is a nice video

Bring our boys back...

Cruel CNN Reporter Interviews Mother of Naftali Frenkel

Some very insensitive questions...incredibly insensitive. Could he be more cruel? Note how CNN can't even get the label right - his name is Naftali.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tracking Our Children - An Israeli App

Davidi told me there is a new application that he can download, if I want him to. When you get on a bus, you press a button indicating that you got in a car or on a bus and your location is tracked by GPS and saved.

If there's a problem, you press an emergency button and it sends a warning to the police and any other numbers you send as it saves your current GPS location.

When you get off, you press that you got off safely. In what world is an application like this needed? Sad to say, in our world. This is just one of many applications that show the reality in Israel. For example, we have programs that track incoming missile warning for residents.

I can't help but wonder what unique applications are created for Palestinians? The angry part of me born of 10 days of worry and anxiety comes up with this list:
  • I Commit Suicide - a special program that lets you press a button and pretend to blow yourself up in your choice of locations. If you don't throw the bomb fast enough, you get blown up. You only get one chance per game.
  • iRocket - lets you launch a rocket at the city of your choice. Extra points for shooting at schools and hospitals.
  • iPlan - lets you select a location, a weapon (options include bombs, bullets, rockets and stones) and targets. Advanced level enables you to target multi-floor locations such as hospitals and hotels.
  • FlingRock - lets you practice throwing rocks at the targets of your choice.
Disclaimer: I don't hate all Arabs and/or Palestinians. I don't believe all are violent. I do believe they have a culture of death and hatred and right now, with Elad, Gilad, and Naftali gone 10 days, I believe we all have the right to our anger.

Syria Killed Mohammed

So someone on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border decided to teach Israel a lesson. They targeted a group of workers that were fixing a portion of the border fence. The explosion was a direct hit - great job on their parts.

Four people were hurt, one person was killed. Turns out, the one who was killed was a 13 year old boy...his name was Mohammed and he was apparently there with his father.

So today, Syria killed Mohammed - along with dozens of other Muslims within its own borders.

May God Avenge His Blood

Isn't that an interesting phrase? It's what Jews say when they hear of a great injustice. When someone is murdered - we ask that God avenge his/her blood. It isn't said all the time...but when it is said, it is said with the acceptance that there are things beyond human justice and so we trust this to God.

I just checked the news and saw that an Israeli had been killed near the Syrian border - in Israel...and then it got worse. Without thinking, automatically, I said those words, "May God avenge his blood." The victim of the mortar attack from Syria was a 15-year-old boy.

May God avenge his blood...we don't bomb whole cities as they do; we don't kidnap teenagers. We don't murder 3 month old babies with our bare hands; we don't stab 3 year olds in the heart.

We don't flatten whole areas in our anger or our need to avenge. We might, in the coming hours, attack a military target; knock out the site from which the mortar was fired. We might bomb a military training camp and we may go door to door, arresting terrorists and confiscating bombs, explosives, knives, guns and bullets - as we have been doing for the last 10 days as we search for Gilad, Eyal and Naftali.

May God avenge his blood...God...and not us. We don't act in vengeance. We leave that to God, we trust with complete faith that He will answer for the life of a boy now gone.

Day Ten

Ten days since the boys were kidnapped; ten days since their parents spoke to them. Israel continues to pray, to hope. The parents set the tone, that is their right. They have not lost hope - more likely the opposite. Each brief glimpse is of three united couples, determined to see their sons again.

Each message is one of faith and trust. They trust the army and the government of Israel to bring their boys home. They believe that with prayer, miracles will happen.

I was disconnected on Thursday from the news - first by a trip up north for a business appointment, then by a car accident (yeah...). As I waited in the emergency room for endless tests, x-rays, CT, etc. - I thought about the boys and wondered what was happening, if anything.

Friday was a full day of preparing for Shabbat, resting more than I normally do, and a few quick checks on the computer. Nothing. I lit candles and thanked God for the miracle that I received - walking away from a car that was smashed beyond recognition; home with my husband and children. So grateful and so wishing the same could be said of the three - Gilad, Naftali and Eyal.

I said their names in prayer over Shabbat and checked the news. The army is on the move in so many areas. I know personally at least two of the soldiers who are in action now, searching, working. But there are thousands more.

Last night, Israel was again hit with rockets. I hear that Obama has called on Israel to show restraint in its search and response related to the kidnapping. The fury that insensitive request causes is beyond words.

The world has gone crazy. There is no other explanation. We should show restraint?

Day ten...

The "What Could Have Beens"

On Thursday, I was reminded that I am blessed. So very, incredibly blessed. Blessed with my husband, blessed with my children, blessed with those they married, and blessed, at least as important as all of them, blessed by God.

He sped through the red light. I never even saw him. The first impression made to my brain was the impact and the loud crashing noise on the right side of the car (passenger side). Immediately, there was the sensation of moving sideways, a direction that cars don't travel. Another two loud sounds - one was a second impact on the left side of the car, the other was the sound of airbags popping open. I can't honestly tell you which came first and which was second.

The car came to a full stop and I knew that I was fine. Really fine. I did what my trained MADA (Magen David Adom - ambulance volunteers) sons would have told me you aren't supposed to do. I got out of the car. The airbags release dust/smoke whatever into the car (CO2 if you want to get technical). I thought in those first seconds that maybe it was smoke.

When I got out, the first thing I saw was the damage that the pole (or poles) had done to the left side of my car. The car was just over 2 months old and in perfect condition. The back seat still had the plastic on it.

More than that, the car did what it was supposed to do - it crumbled with the impact...and protected the driver. But more than the car, God was there. No, I'm not claiming to have seen Him or spoken to Him - but look at the miracle that happened. My car was hit on both sides - three of the four doors were badly damaged - the only door that was left without a scratch was my door - the driver's door. I was able to open the door completely and easily.

The back seat doors on both sides were completely destroyed. I walked easily, so well.

People came over to me and asked if I was okay. They told me to sit down; they offered me water. Others went to check on the other driver. This was not a case of people not getting involved - I was surrounded by caring people focusing on me.

In those seconds, they told me they had seen the other driver run the light...and ram into my car. For the most part, all I wanted was my husband next to me. I tried calling him but he was already in the meeting where I had dropped him off 20 minutes before. He didn't answer. I think I cried a little bit - mostly from being shaky and realizing how serious a crash it had been.

A man came up and handed me his card and told me he'd seen everything. I looked at the card he handed to me and saw he worked at the same company where Lazer was having his meeting. I asked him to call the person at the company and gave him his name.

I explained my husband was meeting the man there. I guess I didn't explain it carefully enough. One could say this was a coincidence...but it was already the middle of the day...not so early that it would be natural that someone would be arriving for work.

The man named Michael called the company and spoke to Eyal, the man Lazer was meeting with. But the message Michael gave to Eyal was that HIS wife was in an accident with the blue car. So Eyal told Lazer that his wife had been hurt and went rushing off to see her. On his way, he realized that they don't own a blue car.

He got there, saw me, asked how I was and then offered to get Lazer. I went to the hospital, on the advice of the ambulance team, the police, the witnesses, etc. When I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, one of the ambulance volunteers said, "come, let me show you the other side of the car."

I was taken to Rambam Hospital and though it took 10 hours to leave, they were thorough and professional and spared no test they thought was necessary to do. I have bruises galore. I'm sore all over. I feel totally, amazingly, completely lucky. I'm black and blue along the line where the seat belt held me so that I didn't crash into the windshield. My ribs ache when I laugh or cough or breathe too deeply. Who cares? I don't. I am so in love with my life and so incredibly thankful to be alive and well.

My kids were amazing - every single one of them. I could list all that they did but I'd rather just say they were so there for me. I couldn't reach Lazer, so I called Shmulik. Not only did he call Lazer, but he thought to call Amira. She and Haim were in the north, having taken a short vacation. They were on their way home - a short distance from where the accident happened and showed up quickly at the hospital shortly after I got there.

More amazing details - they had rented a car - a tiny, tiny car...and were upgraded to a Toyota Corolla. We had no car but they stayed for the 10 hours it took to finish all the tests and then drove us home in the comfort of a bigger car.

The next day - all the kids joined in to help us prepare for Shabbat. Shmulik's wife's parents sent us a large pot of delicious rice - the kind made from a family recipe that is unbelievably tasty). Lauren and Elie cooked and came over with little Michali; Amira and Haim came for Shabbat with Yosef. It was very special. I didn't get to see Naama, but she called and we spoke on the phone. Davidi helped peel and grate and move; Aliza kept telling me to go rest and took over baking all the challah loaves I shaped in gratitude and a prayer that the three kidnapped boys would come home. Chaim came to visit; Mera called to see how I was and if I needed anything. Only after Shabbat did I once again open Facebook to see that friends had offered to bring me food and dozens expressed their concern.

You can spend your life thinking of what could have been...if that pole had hit the driver's door instead of the back seat door, if Lazer had been in the car. If the driver had hit me a second earlier, he might have crashed into the front of the car and not the side. There could have been another car to my left, involving more people. On and on it goes; more than once I could see that my children were thinking of the "what could have beens".

But what fills my mind more than the "what could have been" is the what was and what is. What was, was an incredible gift, a blessing. A blessing of life but also a blessing of love.

Before we even left the hospital, Lazer called the Mitsubishi dealer and told them what happened and ordered the same car, same color. I loved that blue color. Ironically, on the way to our meetings in the north, we had discussed the car...and there we were, a few hours later - the car was totally destroyed and I don't think either one of us cared that much.

Thank you to God, who watched over me, protected me, and delivered me back to my family. There are no words of gratitude that I could write that would express my eternal thanks for all He has given to me, done for me, blessed me with.

And, thank you to my family - with more love and thanks than I could possibly write. To my wonderful husband...for the past 30 amazing years and, God willing, to the next 30 and beyond. To my children - no matter where life takes you, may you always feel as blessed as I do at this moment.

And thank you to my friends, near and far, for sending love and support, writing, calling, visiting.

Thank you to Eyal, who helped us so much and to the staff of Rambam Medical Center (to Debbie and Dr. Blazer...just wow, thank you). And thank you to the MADA volunteers and the police - professional, caring, efficient.

And thank you to the witnesses who came forward, the people who cared enough to worry over me until the professionals came.

And finally, thank you to Mitsubishi. Before and after buying the car, I was concerned that the Attrage couldn't hold up in a crash. It gives great gas mileage; it's beautiful inside and out. It is affordable and has really cool things (multimedia center, reverse camera, automatic lights and automatic windshield wiper operation) and all of that...but most of all, it did what it was supposed to do - it took the impact of a major crash caused by a heavy Volkswagen van. I don't know how fast that guy was going, but he had to have been flying to send my car spinning off that way...and through it all, The Mitsubishi Attrage protected me well.

What could have been wasn't and what was, was the gift of returning me back to my life and family. I am, today, truly blessed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In Simple Words - Kidnapped by Hamas

The Greatest Truths Against the Worst Lies

This is a guest blog post by Ira Kirschner who is a very wise young man. He lives across the street from me - at least his amazing parents do. He posted this to Facebook and I asked if I could post it here. With much gratitude for his insightful truths...I offer you "a few responses to help you explain the truth about the despicable kidnapping of Israeli teens by Palestinian terrorists"

The Greatest Truths Against the Worst Lies

Lie # 1: "Israel kidnaps thousands of Palestinian kids and tortures them, how is this different?"

False. Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian teens that throw life threatening stones and firebombs at soldiers and civilians. Israeli soldiers follow a chain of command and are accountable for their actions- these teens aren't tortured or killed. If a soldier ever does cross the line, he will be caught, judged and sent to prison.

This isn't '1984' or 'The Matrix'- there are no insane conspiracies.

Lie #  2: "Kidnapping Israelis is a legitimate way to to combat the 'occupation'."

False. It is never legitimate to target civilians. Especially teens. You are conversing with a person who is either antisemitic, hateful or simply stupid.
There is no point in continuing this conversation. Stop wasting your time.

Lie #  3: "I have proof from (antisemitic) news sources that Israel is the worst."

False. No, you don't. Btzelem, breaking the silence, Jewish voice for peace, Mondoweiss and most international media have a biased view of Israel and present warped opinions as facts that have no real ground. Obviously Israeli right wing media isn't a logical alternative for them, but there are neutral news sources out there that work to disprove lies, with concrete evidence (CAMERA, Palestinian media watch and more).

Lie #  4: "Israelis burnt a Palestinian flag and shouted racist slogans."

True. and horrible. and not helpful. and I wish they didn't. But that is nothing compared to the celebrations in the Arab world. The caricatures. The joy at our suffering.

Our minority is out of line. Their majority is out of line. And that is a significant difference.

Lie #  5: "They had to kidnap to raise awareness about their horrible lives under 'occupation'."

False. No, they didn't. Everyone is aware. The world condemns us on a regular basis. We condemn ourselves on a regular basis. No Israeli, left or right wing, is blind to or pleased with Palestinian suffering. Suffering which is mostly due to our attempts to eliminate terrorism, and Arab countries refusing to absorb refugees. Regardless, hurting teens is not a legitimate response to their suffering. This kidnapping isn't supposed to solve the conflict. It happened in order to get bargaining chips that they can use to release terrorists from Israeli prisons. As proven before, Israelis value life and Palestinians value death. One Israeli is worth a thousand Palestinian terrorists.

Continue adding to this by educating yourself- if someone posts something that sounds suspicious- Google it. Consult with Israeli friends. Find the truth. Share it.

#bringbackourboys  #eyalgiladnaftali

A Divided Nation

Israel is today a very divided a strange and wonderful way. We are usually divided by many issues - secular versus religious (and too often everybody versus the Haredim). We are divided by economic factors like most countries - those who are poor versus those who are rich, though thankfully in our country even the poor have access to medical care at ridiculously affordable rates (comparable to other countries).

We are divided by region, though not very much. The south faces constant danger from Gaza and rockets; the north faces a more subtle danger from Hezbollah in Lebanon and a minor annoyance from Syria. And some regions face other dangers...

We are sometimes divided according to gender lines. Women still earn less than men do here for the same job. On the other hand, women can serve in combat units, in the government, even as Prime Minister. Women receive 100% maternity leave here (and men can take paternity leave).

We are divided by those who serve in the army, and those who do not. It's a hard division for those of us who have sent sons off to serve this land. And sometimes, the prejudice and anger is misdirected - like from the border guard who answered my question about why only two lanes of the check point were open when there were so many cars jammed up and waiting to get through. His response was, "if you served, we'd have more men to open another lane." It took me too long to translate what he said in my mind and I drove on not wanting to hold up the line any more. But for days, I wanted to go back and tell him about Elie and Shmulik, about Chaim and Yaakov, and my son-in-law who is Haredi...and served as well. Don't judge people so quickly, I should have told him, but I didn't and I regret that.

We are divided most of all by politics - left and right. Those who want peace...and yes, those who want peace too. The difference is those on the left will tell you that those on the right don't really want peace and we are enjoying subjugating, occupying, abusing, whatever. Those on the right will wonder why the left is so busy worrying about our enemies and ignoring the fact that it is our enemies who are doing or attempting to do those very things to us. Those on the right will say that it is easy to love the Arabs when you live in Tel Aviv and barely see or interact with them. Whereas we, who live here among them, work with them, and interact with them on a daily basis are truly much more in tune with what they want, what they need.

Bashir has a wife and three children. He works in the mall. He is sorry about the kidnapped boys and hopes they come home safely. Mahmoud walks our streets every day, picking up garbage, sweeping the streets and earning a fair wage for his work. It supports his family and people are polite to him. I often see him waving to people, as he waves to me.

Once I asked him to pick up a dead cat and he told me not to worry. I apologized and told him it was hard for me to look at it, and he smiled and said he wife was the same way. I make Mahmoud coffee in the winter - thick, hot, extremely sweet Turkish coffee that he takes with a smile. I give him cold water in the summer even though he shows me a bottle that he carries with him. He too is sorry about the missing boys. He says we should go get them.

What is amazing today, is that for all that divides us, the greatest divide today isn't along the lines of politics or religion. The secular Jews among us are praying (or, as perhaps they prefer to think of it - thinking good thoughts). The Haredim are praying for our boys, who are their boys too. The poor and the rich, men and women, left and right. Israel is united...except within ourselves. That is where the divide is today in this country.

We go to work, and a part of us remains with the boys. We go to sleep and think of them; wake and they are in our minds. We drive in the streets, we hug our children. We shop and wonder what they are eating. The wind blows and we wonder if they are cold. It's getting very hot, we wonder if they are terribly uncomfortable and most of all, we wonder if they are okay. We too want to hug them, but most of all, we want to see their mothers hugging them.

I've had this feeling of being divided inside me now for 7 years. The ability to concentrate on one thing while your heart worries about another. First it was for Elie - I didn't know enough about the army or what Yaakov was doing to truly worry about where he was. Then it was for Shmulik and Chaim - they went in together. Haim worked on an air force base so I really only worried about him getting to and from the base and mostly, I knew he was fine. Soon enough, too soon, it will be Davidi and part of me thinks this one will break me. I'm just not sure I can do it again...even though I know I have to, even though I know I will.

Sometimes, this feeling rises up to choke you and your brain falters. It did it while Elie was in the Gaza War, a few nights when I knew Shmulik was out there. It did it again during Operation Pillar of Defense while we waited to see if the Palestinians were stupid enough to let the situation move into a full war.

It often happened while I thought and worried about Gilad Shalit. Now, it is constant. Six days and counting. I need to work; I need to finish one document, two proposals. I need to set up a meeting with a new client; finalize the billing issues for another. I need to confirm which writer I'm going to put on a project and one client has optimistically asked me to finish what I'm working on so that I can start the next one on Sunday or Monday. It's never too early to begin working on next year's conference. I have to update FOUR different websites. It's Wednesday already - I probably need to make a shopping list.

Elie and Lauren's baby has a low fever, so I offered to stay home and watch her while Lauren works and Elie goes to school. Later, Amira and Haim's son is coming to sleep over with me for the first time - his parents are taking a well-deserved vacation in the north. Aliza is on a school trip today as the summer comes closer. Only a few more days, and my baby will be heading into ninth grade.

Davidi has confirmed that he'll be in Hesder next year - paperwork has already been closed. A year from now, he'll be heading into the army. Shmulik has started a new job and is doing well. He's trying to fix my phone. His wife, Naama is finishing college after long years of study.

I check the news 20 times a day (that's actually not an exaggeration and is probably below the actual number of times). I have so much on my mind, too much. So much going on; too many things to do.

And on the other side of it all, for six days now, there is this huge part of me that isn't functioning very well. The three boys are still missing. Nothing is as important as that and so my brain and heart focus on that. Yes, I am actually aware that there is nothing I can do. No words written will save them. Prayers will help - and I am praying for their safe and speedy return but beyond that...this divide in your soul remains. Day and night...

Day 6.

As you go through your day - please think of

Gilad Michael ben Bat-Galim
Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
Eyal ben Iris T'shura

Please let them come home safe and soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Our Children Are

I don't know where the boys are. I'll start off by saying that. But I do know where our children least a whole bunch of them. I drove home from a client in Herziliya today, needing to pick up something along the way. Traffic was bad all over - a fire on one road, accident on another, more police activity, security and checking...not the greatest of commutes home.

And if that weren't enough, I spent part of the time with tears pouring down my face...and not just once. I passed Elad, the city were Eyal, the 19 year old student lives with his family. Today, his parents joined the other two sets of parents to meet with the Prime Minister and be updated. I have no doubt that when they returned home to their city, they too were overwhelmed.

I know where our children are. They were standing, dozens, perhaps hundreds, at the entrance to Elad - small children and bigger ones. And three boys who had climbed on top of the bus station. They  were carrying pictures and signs - BRING OUR BOYS HOME...and their pictures and their names - Eyal, Naftali, Gilad. And they were waving Israeli flags - not just holding them - but waving them back and forth with all the pride and strength you can imagine.

I couldn't take a picture - I was driving and my phone's battery was dead anyway. But imagine a boy standing tall - high up on the bus station roof, waving a flag slowly back and forth. LOOK at me, he was saying. THIS is my flag. THIS is my country. I'm here for Eyal. We are the children of Israel.

I stopped off and picked up the bag I needed to get...and as I turned past Modiin - there were more children. Waving flags and clapping their hands and singing. We are the children of Israel. We are here for Gilad and Eyal and Naftali.

And I drove into Jerusalem, more tired than you can imagine. I can barely sleep at night. My alarm woke a little after 5:30 in the morning. A full day of meetings and work and my eyes have been stinging from all the tears. And there they were - our children on the corners of Jerusalem - waving flags. We are the children of Israel and you cannot stop us. You cannot defeat us. This is our flag; this is our land. We are here for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal.

All over Israel - our children took to the streets. They are not hiding; they are fighting back. Our soldiers, our sons and daughters, are searching for you - Eyal, Gilad, Naftali.

Naftali's mother spoke to the nation today again with grace and strength and then she spoke to the boys. "Eyal, Gilad, Naftali – we love you, and we miss you. Be strong."

I've cried so much over the last few days, prayed so hard. Last night, I was at the Western Wall after midnight and there were hundreds of people there. A man called out the first line of the Psalm 121.
I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
And all around me, I heard people repeat after him.
I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
And then the answer... 
My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
And the promise God has given to his people
He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
A few days ago, Eyal's brother was reading these lines out. And it was here that his voice broke; here he could barely say the words.
The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protective shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time.
All over Israel today and through the night, we are repeating these words. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night, Eyal. The Lord will guard you from all evil, Gilad.  The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time, Naftali.

We are waiting for you to come home - we, and the children of Israel. They are standing on the street corners, waving flags and showing their pride. They are sending their strength to you, praying for you. Come home soon. Please God, come home soon.

A Country United in Prayer - in 50 Minutes!

Today (6/17/2014) at 1:20 in Israel the entire country is asked to Recite aloud Psalm 121 - this will be broadcast on all the radio stations in the country and abroad for the return of our children

Ya'akov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah

Eyal ben Iris T'shura

Gil'ad Micha'el ben Bat-Galim.

Chapter 121

1. A song of ascents. I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
2. My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
3. He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
4. Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
5. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protective shade at your right hand.
6. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7. The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
8. The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time.

Say it in Hebrew...say it in English - please, please - just say it and pray for the return of our boys.

Update: So, from what I can tell, my friend who told me about this was misinformed or the radio stations didn't cooperate. Either way, I know hundreds if not thousands DID say the Psalm hoping, praying for the boys. That alone is a wonderful thing. 

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