There comes a time when there are no more red lines to cross. Was it C.S. Lewis who said, “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do”? Since the abduction of our boys began 20 days ago, Israel has sprung into action. It didn’t take long for Israel to identify Hamas as the perpetrator. The world mostly ignored Israel’s assertions. Much of Western media, mirroring US President Barack Obama’s narrative, continued the legitimization of the Fatah-Hamas union, and its funding, despite the abduction.
They had bigger fish to fry – the start of a swift, unanticipated and brutal takeover of Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the newest and most radical of the radical Islamist groups.
Not a single word of concern was publicly uttered by Obama regarding the kidnapping (despite one of the victims being an American citizen), and certainly no condemnations were forthcoming. Not a phone call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
In all his interviews Netanyahu tried injecting some truth and sanity into the discourse, but made hardly a dent in the world’s response. So this was to remain our “little local matter,” that we would have to deal with “sensibly.” With restraint, of course. Conversely, many continued to demonize Israel as the number one global threat, and in their irrational blindness blithely ignored real dangers.
Now we mourn our dead. After a relentless search, the bodies of our murdered boys have been found. The identities of the Hamas murderers are known – yet has anything changed? Obama finally came out publicly conveying sorrow for their death – but made not a single mention of Hamas, let alone any condemnation. Still invoking the magic of “symmetry,” he called for restraint from both sides, further legitimizing the Fatah/Hamas union in yet another appeasement of terror.
This gross misreading of the Middle East map has helped accelerate its unraveling. Despite radicals gaining ground throughout the Middle East and despite the threat to the world of Iran’s accelerating nuclear program, nothing seems to be moving.
The ostrich still hides its head in the sand. Our world is in danger.
Ad matai? Until when? What will it take? On a local level where our boys were concerned, we knew we had to act. We found ourselves crying out to the world asking again and again, “Why are you ignoring this abduction and its perpetrators? Why are you funding this terrorist entity?” On a global level we were voicing our ongoing plea, “Don’t you see that our abducted boys are a symptom of the overall, out-of-control radicalism encroaching on our world today?” Yet nothing but a meek reply here; a bland retort there. And mostly, silence.
Why is this abduction and murder of three boys such a big deal, you ask? After all, in Nigeria the abduction of hundreds of innocent girls by Islamic fundamentalists went ignored, and then, when someone finally noticed, nothing much was done. Across the globe atrocities continue, so how dare we cry over these three? Indeed. Why did the three youths’ mothers travel all the way to UN to speak out? Why were they actively involved with the media wherever possible? Why has most of Israel, in a united front, immersed itself in emotional identification with, and support and prayer for these boys? Depersonalization has become the blight of our times, and if, as a society, we can’t personalize atrocities our own endure, if we are unable to care about those who live in our midst, close to home, how can we genuinely have concern for those afar? Here in Israel, we got close to our boys through their mothers, families, friends and media.
They became our sons, our brothers. Our friends. We saw their faces, learned of their talents, interests, dreams and hopes. If you can’t cry for yourself and those close to you, how can you cry for others? What would motivate you to stop those who would destroy all these blessings and the world along with it? To the bereaved families I pray: “As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now are a part of us, as we remember them. May God comfort you among all the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
The author lives in Jerusalem.