Bring Back Our Boys!
This is the urgent cry reverberating throughout the land of Israel—by way of massive prayer rallies at the Western Wall, from daily television and radio broadcasts, through nonstop articles by Jewish (and Gentile) journalists, and by continuous speeches from Israeli politicians led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bring back our boys! It’s a poignant refrain much like the heartfelt plea of parents and wives and husbands who desperately long for the safe return of their children and spouses from war.
Why? For what reason have six million Israelis citizens focused near unprecedented attention to what many in the Western world consider just another act of terrorism in the boiling cauldron of the Middle East?
If you haven’t heard, on June 12th three Israeli boys were kidnapped on their way home from high school. Their names: Eyal Yifrach, age 19; Naftali Frenkel, age 16; Gilad Shaar, age 16. All three youths are Israeli citizens; however, Naftali holds a dual citizenship with another country. Might you guess what country that is? It is the United States of America. For those who don’t know a lot about dual citizenship—It is perfectly legal and, in fact, thousands upon thousands of Americans are citizens of one of more countries in addition to their birth citizenship in America.
The massive search and rescue effort by Israel involves the IDF and virtually every law enforcement and security agency in the country. It’s been given an operational code name normally reserved for military operations, and much larger ones at that. The Israelis call it: Operation Brother’s Keeper. Such a relevant and appropriate name, bringing to mind Cain’s elusive response to God when God confronted him about Cain’s brutal murder of his brother, Abel. The chosen name for this campaign sends a crystal clear signal not only to fellow Jews but to the terrorists: Unlike their enemies, the Jews value the sanctity of human existence and care deeply for every Israeli life.
They even respect the welfare of their enemies, which is why the Israelis go far out of their way (sometimes to the point of endangering their own soldiers) to avoid civilian casualties during military operations; and treat wounded enemy soldiers and Arab civilians (both wounded and ill) in Jewish hospitals.
So say the Jews; so say we who care: We are our brother’s keeper!
As of a few days ago, 1800 locations (mostly buildings) had been searched with some 360 Palestinians arrested, 269 of which were Hamas and 57 released prisoners during the 1000 to 1 prisoner exchange in 2011 for IDF solider Gilad Shalit. Purpose of these arrests varied, but they all pertained to on-going terrorist’s plots or recent actions, such as launching more rockets into Israel. And, of course because some of those arrested probably know where the three Jewish boys are being held captive.
Actually, it’s amazing that more Israelis haven’t been kidnapped. I make that observation in the context that 64 planned abductions have been thwarted by Israeli police or IDF or Shin Bet since the beginning of 2013.
World Reaction to the Kidnappings
As anticipated, world reaction has swung from one end of the pendulum (helpless horror that terrorists within Israel itself would/could successfully kidnap innocent Jewish civilians); to abject apathy and even support for such a hideous crime (as demonstrated by militant Palestinian Muslims who gave candy and presents to their children in celebration of the kidnapping, and even an Arab member of Israel’s Knesset who shamelessly denies that the boys were kidnapped); to a somewhat neutral, impersonal attitude that, nevertheless, favors the so-called plight of the Palestinians to reclaim land that rightfully belongs to them … which, of course, it doesn’t if you know anything at all about Israel’s history. To these folks, kidnapping three Jewish boys is to be expected. It’s the risk of living in Israel. Besides, it’s only three boys and there’s no evidence yet that they’ve been murdered. In fact, the EU, the UN, and even the United States has cautioned Israel to act and react with caution and some degree of restraint! Incredible! Astonishing! Does any nation, including the US, think that Israel doesn’t know how to respond to such attacks and assaults on their people?
In that regard, Israel is an expert on these matters, as they have experienced more incidents of both successful and unsuccessful strikes (per capita) against innocent Jewish men, women, and children than any country in the world. Not just during war, but during times of peace between wars. Actually, the world has been giving Israel this kind of advice for decades that essentially boils down to: No matter the horrendous nature of the attacks by your enemies, it’s Israel’s duty to exercise the appropriate degree of response or retaliation.
What about the numbers? For those of us who are deeply concerned about these matters, one kidnapped child is one too many. For those who think numbers matter, at least a little, let’s put this into context. There are approximately six million Jews in Israel. Also rounded off, there are some 300 million Americans in the United States. If we were to proportion these figures on a per capita basis, three Israeli teenagers would be equivalent to 150 American teenagers, should a Muslim terrorist cell decided to kidnap our children. What would be the reaction in this country if 150 of our boys or girls were kidnapped by a terrorist group, Muslim or otherwise? Pure outrage! Followed by an intense search and rescue mission never before seen in this country. It would give Amber Alert a whole new meaning.
What if we had this same mindset in America, expressed by so many world leaders … meaning a teaspoon of sadness over the kidnapping mixed with thirty-gallons of lukewarm indifference, i.e. well, that’s life in Israel! What if we got to the point where it was fashionably rationalized that Muslim terrorists in the United States had some sort of defensible right to kidnap American citizens or to kill them in random acts of terrorism? After all, Muslims are being oppressed all over the world, right? They are unfairly profiled just because they follow Islam, thus we should consider the source of the extreme behavior of the militants among them, because it doesn’t really represent or reflect moderate Islam which is essentially a religion of peace! At least we should try to better understand why they do such things, and not be so quick to judge. I wonder: do many in America have this same mindset? I hope not, but at the very least we’re becoming more and more desensitized to Islamic strategies (whether violence or infiltration) to subjugate the entire world. Make no mistake; that is exactly their stated objective, whether their radicals speak or their moderates speak.
Or we should cut them some slack when they commit horrible atrocities all over the world, even against each other such as in Syria and Iraq. After all, they believe so passionately in their causes. Most Muslims would have us believe that their cause is freedom from Israeli occupation, a state of their own within Israel, freedom of self-government … on and on. When, in fact, the majority of Arabs in Israel do not actually want a separate Palestinian state (see my Eye of Prophecy article entitled, A Palestinian State? No, say many Arabs, published 1-11-14). At the last statistical poll, a full 70% of Palestinians said they do not want a Palestinian State in Israel. Why is that?
Primarily, because they have a much better way of life and much higher standard of living as citizens of Israel. They fully realize how much better off they are as a citizen of Israel or even as a Palestinian in the West Bank receiving free electricity from Israel … free only because they refuse to pay for it! What happens in America if we don’t pay our electrical bill? Try it for 3-4 months and see what happens; that is, if you can see in the dark!
Okay, enough cynicism for one article; however, millions of Muslims all over the world actually believe in the right to do whatever it takes to further their cause, including, but not limited to, kidnapping innocent people. If the kidnapped are Jews or Christians, such as the 200+ girls kidnapped by the Nigerian Muslim group Boko Haram, so much the better. Of course there are many Muslims who would never participate in these kind of crimes, but how many followers of Islam have you heard or read about, who actually expressed deep remorse over the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly three thousand Americans? Or the massacre during the Boston Marathon last year? To the contrary even moderate Palestinian Arabs danced in the streets in celebration of both of these massacres.
Because I intently follow several news and web sites that frequently deal with these issues (but also through the giants of the publishing industry, such as the Washington Post) I can tell you how many high-ranking or low-ranking Muslim leaders and followers actively denounce the brutal atrocities of their militant brethren: Precious few. If I and others are wrong about this conclusion, then why hasn’t the world heard from many more Arab leaders to the contrary? Why haven’t they spoken out against such cruel barbarity? Anyone with any common sense understands the principle that near total silence is morally equivalent to condoning terrorism, sometimes even complicity.
The fact remains: The vast majority of Muslims the world over accept whatever it takes to accomplish the ruthless goals of Islam, including Jihad. And, for the time being, there are enough Muslim militants to do the job; which is why most Muslims don’t actively participate in or pursue violence to further their cause. And, of course, there are some who genuinely want to live in peace with their Christian and Jewish neighbors.
Some of us fully comprehend the primary motive for these random, yet ceaseless attacks on Jews whether in Israel or across the globe; which is the ancient animosity and historical hatred that Arabs harbor against the Jews … all the way back to Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac. We also understand the Palestinians do not really want a state of their own, or even more land. At least twice in the past twenty-five years, the Palestinian Authority has rejected incredible offers from Israeli Prime Ministers, such as 93% of the West Bank, all of the Gaza Strip and other generous offers that no nation that I know of would ever make; especially for territory won in battle, such as the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War.
Whether a thousand square miles or one square mile of Jewish land does not matter to the Arabs. They want it all. No, they want even more than that: They want every square foot of the land without one single Jewish foot in the land. Just read the charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) or the Hamas charter to see the chilling statements that basically call for the utter destruction of Israel and return of a land that they never had rights to in the first place.
Thus, it’s good to hear from the good guys such as United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) expressing his deep concern, and representing the voice of many Americans, when he said, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three Jewish teenagers, two Israelis and one American, who have been kidnapped by radical Islamic terrorists. This atrocity against both our nations reminds us that we face a mutual enemy who attacks us because of our shared commitment to the basic principles of freedom.”
He then directed some comments to our President with these words, “This act of terrorism should also alert the Obama Administration to the fact that working with, recognizing, and/or funding any ‘unity’ government that includes those that seek the destruction of the Jewish State is naïve and foolish. Such legitimization of the enemies of Israel and the United States only invites more violence.”
Senator Cruz continued: “As Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out, ‘You remember that Israel warned the international community about the dangers of endorsing the Fatah-Hamas unity pact.’ The dangers of that pact now should be abundantly clear to all,” the senator added.
Senator Cruz, of course, was referring to the recent (just a few days before the kidnappings) unification “merger” of the Palestinian Authority that controls the West Bank with Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip territory of the Palestinians. That despite the United States legal Congressional act to defund any terrorist group (Hamas is considered a terrorist organization), this country not only recognized the merger, but agreed to continue hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to this half “moderate” half terrorist union. I suppose it’s the moderate half that the US is still funding. If so, the least we could do is cut our aid in half!
Ted Cruz’ comments were welcomed by all who support Israel. Particularly in light of US Secretary John Kerry’s “strong response” that wasn’t made until several days after the kidnappings and failed to acknowledge any need to discontinue the funding or to rescind the United States recognition of this unity pact. Instead, Kerry commented that Hamas, “is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.”
Do you see what I mean: Even our Secretary of State concedes that the kidnapping of these three boys is nothing more than a predictable, even expected tactic of Hamas. As though that rationale was enough to continue the US recognition of this so-called unity pact. The only union accomplished was the union of moderate hatred (Palestinian Authority) of the Jews with violent, irrational, pure hatred from the more radical Palestinians …Hamas.
But just how moderate is President Mahmoud Abbas leader of the Palestinian Authority? Let me share some startling, but disgusting figures to show that crime in Israel actually does pay; and then you decide. The PA actually pays monthly salaries to their terrorist’s sons and daughters who were apprehended by the Israelis for successful or failed attempts to kidnap or kill Jews. Depending on the length of the jail sentence, up to $3,500.00 per month is paid to the families of those incarcerated … more if the heroic prisoner has children. In the years 2011-2012, approximately $150 million dollars was funneled to these families! And it’s no secret to anyone who knows what’s going on, that much of these monthly stipends is subsidized directly by US aid to the PA.
As Israeli Columnist Isi Leibler said in a recent article written for Israel Hayom: “Since the creation of the state (meaning State of Israel), we have endured endless terrorist acts targeting innocent Israelis of all ages. The global media has portrayed the kidnapping as an attack on “settlers.” This is especially ironic given the history of Gush Etzion—from where the teenagers were abducted—a settlement bloc founded by the children and survivors of a community destroyed and razed the ground during the 1948 War of Independence. In this context, we must come to terms with the reality that the world is indifferent to what happens to Israel, as exemplified yet again by the EU failing to make a formal statement for five days. When it did, the statement was not signed by foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who never misses an opportunity to release immediate statements in her own name condemning Israel for construction in east Jerusalem Jewish suburbs.”
Leibler continues: “Ironically, as the kidnapping saga is unfolding in Israel, in New York there has been furious debate surrounding the Metropolitan Opera production of Death of Klinghoffer, a vile drama based on the callous murder of a crippled Jew on a cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists which seeks to rationalize and humanize the terrorists and rationalize their motivations. The major problem today is that the international community denies the barbaric nature of Islamic fundamentalism…”
Identification with Israel
My main purpose for this article is to once again express my heartfelt love and empathy for the Jewish people and the daily risk they’re exposed to simply because they are Jews and live in Israel. It shouldn’t be that way. How many must die before their children and children’s children can live in safety. So they can play in the streets and parks, and ride buses without dread of being blown up, and eat bagels in a café, and walk to school and back home again, without fear of being forced into a passing car at gunpoint? To listen with a sympathetic and saddened heart as Naftali Frenkel’s mother addresses the United Nations and tells them, “Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely?”
It was good that the UN extended an invitation to Naftali’s mother, but the overall reaction by those in attendance wasn’t much more than a neutral, knee-jerk response that essentially said, “Well, we are sorry to hear about this.”
Once or twice in past Eye of Prophecy articles, I have quoted former Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who said, “We will have peace only when the Arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews.”
Sadly, very sadly, I can also tell you what millions of Muslims, especially those belonging to terrorist groups such as Hamas would say (probably have said in so many words) in response to Golda’s perceptive statement. They would say, “There will be no peace until there are no more Jewish children.” Which fits precisely with their avowed diabolical intention of killing as many Jews as possible and kidnapping other Jews who might serve a better purpose—such as a totally unbalanced prisoner exchange like the one a few years ago, i.e. a thousand Palestinians prisoners for one Israeli soldier, Galid Shalit.
I can’t tell you enough, how very disheartened I am that the Jewish people must still live their daily lives at great risk, in harm’s way, simply because they are Jews. It’s the irrational, illogical, senseless Anti-Semitic hatred of the Jews that defies all that is right, decent, moral, and good. And yet the perplexing dichotomy is that the nation of Israel is still just as safe as any large city in America, especially for tourists. I know, I’ve been there, just a few years ago.
The very reason that Israel exists today through a miraculous rebirth is linked directly to the greatest bloodbath that one nation ever inflicted against a race of people, just because they belonged to that race. I’m, of course, referring to the Holocaust.
Never again, the Jews said. Never again, can anything like this happen. We must have a place of our own. And through God’s sovereignty and providence, just three years after WW II ended, Israel was reborn as a nation. In a land that belonged to them for thousands of years, long before the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and British exercised control over Israel … a land given to them by God, himself, as an everlasting promise.
Through the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were kidnapped from their homes, from their places of work, from their synagogues, from their schools, from each other; interned in ghettos, then hauled away in cattle trains to concentration camps to be systematically slaughtered in gas chambers, the Jews have finally returned in great numbers to THEIR land. And that they currently number six million in Israel, the same number that was exterminated by Hitler and his Third Reich, is no coincidence.
*News Flash! Two days ago (6-26-14), The Israel Security Agency also known as Shabak (Shin Bet) confirmed that two members of Hamas activists from Hebron were responsible for the kidnappings. Their names are: Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha. For the sake of all that is right and good, we ask you, Marwan and Amar: Release Eyal, Naftali and Gilad back to their families. Then turn to Messiah Yeshua for forgiveness and salvation. In Christ you will find true peace and love, perhaps even for the Jews.
Pray with me and thousands of others for the soon return of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad. All of Israel longs for their safety. Their parents and siblings so want them back, as would any family who cherishes their children; who values life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Things to Ponder
The facts are clear: There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Prince of Peace returns. There is far too much malice in the Muslim heart and mind toward the Jews to concede even one square foot of the Promised Land … the Land promised to the Jews by the one true and living God. Or to concede the right to life for even one Jew. It’s not just terrorism that needs to be stopped; it’s the shocking condition of the human heart that needs to be changed … for everyone, both Jew and Gentile. Who is it that can change the human heart?
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9: 6-7).
“I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace (Shalom) to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10).
**Some remarkable photos and videos below:
(Please click the link below to watch a short, but heart-rending interview of Naftali’s mother)
(Click on this link to a beautiful song composed for Israel and for their boys. You will hear the name Hashem in this song, which means, The Name. Most Jews prefer not to verbalize the sacred name of God, so they refer to the Lord as Hashem)
(Please click below to view some remarkable photos of Operation Brother’s Keeper)