The shloshim (the end of the thirty day mourning period) for Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali – the boys in Israel who were kidnapped and killed by terrorists last month – was yesterday. There is a question I have been wondering about ever since their bodies were discovered and the tape of their phone call to the police was released to the public: Why did Israel search for the boys if there were clearly gunshots in the background of the call? (Wasn’t the outcome obvious?)
I saw some theories on an anti-Semitic website: They claimed that Israel knew all along that the boys were dead. But they conducted the search anyway to garner sympathy from the world and to be able to arrest the Arabs who got released in the Gilad Schalit deal. The site concluded that it was ultimately just a ploy to egg on Hamas to start this war so Israel could kill innocent Palestinians.
Of course, I didn’t believe any part of that theory for a second, but I was still looking for an answer. Then I saw this recent clip of Rachel Fraenkel – mother of slain Naftali Fraenkel – talking about how much they knew as the search was taking place. She explains that they were told from the very beginning that there were gunshots in the call, but because they had intel that Hamas was interested in kidnapping Israelis (for prisoner exchanges), they tried to find ways to explain the gunshots. Perhaps they were blanks or shots to scare them. Maybe the boys were only injured, or maybe some were dead and some were alive.
But even Rachel’s explanation didn’t seem so plausible. Common sense tells you that if Arab terrorists kidnap Israelis and there are gunshots involved, Jews will be dead. Then something occurred to me, and I realized why the search made perfect sense (and what our enemies don’t understand about us).
Israel searched for the boys for the same reason that the Maccabees searched for oil when the Holy Temple was completely trashed and desecrated. They searched for the boys for the same reason Queen Esther went before Achashverosh to attempt to save her people from Haman’s evil decree even though appearing before the king was asking for a death sentence. They searched for the boys for the same reason a motley crew of Holocaust survivors and refugees in 1948 attempted to fight back when every Arab army surrounding them tried to destroy them.
They searched for the boys because the Jewish people lives with hope.
In the most impossible situations throughout our history, we have attempted the impossible time and time again and in some of those times miracles have occurred. Why have we always clung to hope even in our darkest hours? Because we cling to Hashem who is called “The Hope of Israel” (Mikvah Yisrael).
We are facing an enemy in Israel who is bent on our destruction and we are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism all over the world. If you’re following the news, these are terrifying times. It has always been through hope that our salvation has come. Let us turn to Hashem and hope to Hashem and may we merit to continue to see many more miracles.