We stand with Israel as it seeks to respond to the murders of teenage students Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Naftali Frenkel and strongly urge Palestinian Unity Government President, Mahmoud Abbas to sever ties with Hamas in the wake of this war crime.
The fact that Palestinian supporters of Hamas, including young children, have been celebrating the kidnapping with a three finger salute over the past three weeks was heinous and infuriating from the beginning, but now in retrospect is even more sick and diabolical: smiling girls in pink dresses with their hands saluting the cold blooded murder of three teenage students. It takes a particularly ill person to have his or her children do that. It takes a sick society for thousands upon thousands to do so in print and social media.
In Israel tonight, there is a unity of purpose and boiling anger. There is a sense that enough is enough and that it is time not for restraint, but effectiveness. The words of the former President and Prime Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, sum up the mood of the Jewish people worldwide, not Israelis alone:
“The whole nation bows its head this evening with a grief too heavy to bear. These 18 days the nation has prayed in one voice that our wonderful boys would be found alive and well. Now, upon receiving the bitter news, the people of Israel mourn the untimely deaths of the best of our young. Alongside this heavy sorrow, we are determined to punish the wicked terrorists with a strong hand. Our war against terror will get stronger, it will not weaken, so that this murderous terror will not dare raise its head.”
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the three murdered students and with the people of Israel who themselves live with the understanding that those boys could just as easily have been their boys or their girls. We yearn for the day when Shalom will descend upon the land. May that day come swiftly and in our time. Amen.