This week the State of Israel bowed its head in mourning for our three slain students. Eyal Yifrach 19, Gil-ad Shaar 16 and Naftali Frankel 16, were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha, both former prisoners. Abu Ayasha and Kawasme were released in a prisoner swap in attempt from Israel to make yet another painful concession for peace. Israelis are feeling shock, grief, despair and that we need vengeance soon. This is an emotional reaction to three very difficult weeks that united Israelis in our hope that our three boys would be returned safe. This is coupled with an escalation in rocket attacks on Israel’s southern citizens and, for the first time since 2012, Hamas has claimed responsibility.
As the awful news spread throughout the country, impromptu vigils started in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and at the kidnap site. Only two nights ago, Rabin Square in Tel Aviv was packed with people, singing and praying for the boys to return home safely. Last night, a hush fell over this same square as teary eyed Israelis lit candles and sang softly, lamenting the slaughter of our children. I wrote this from Modiin where we were preparing for the burials of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. They were buried next to each other.
Today we are mourning. Tomorrow we will demand answers.
We have called the search “Mivtzah Shuvu Achim” or Operation Brother’s Keeper because in Israel we all take responsibility for one another.
There are many key elements to take into account when weighing a reaction to the murders of our boys. Israel has to consider military elements as we guard our northern and southern borders as well as deal with the growing threat posed by ISIS (Iraq, Syria in the Levant), an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda. Israel will also take into account international opinion and while this may be seen by some as kowtowing to political correctness, it will be a necessary measure moving forward. To effectively isolate Hamas we will have to proceed diplomatically. We will need to strengthen any alliance with Abbas while tightening the noose on Hamas.
It is also the holy month of Ramadan. This lends a particular delicacy as to how to respect religious sensitivities while responding. And respond we must.
Yesterday, we watched the heart-wrenching eulogies given by devastated parents and grandparents to three young boys. Two who were not even old enough to vote but were still marked for death. In emotional tributes these brave parents have spoken of their gratitude to the IDF and security forces who searched night and day to bring their boys home. In the end they did, just not how we had hoped. A sister spoke of her brother’s heroism, fighting off his attacker and having the courage to make that phone call that alerted authorities to their fate. A Rabbi and teacher lamented the death of a prized student. We all listened in awe at their strength. After this week, we have all retired with heavy hearts. We are appreciating each other a little more and hug our children a little tight. Our country is shattered but not broken.
About Rolene Marks
Rolene Marks is a bloggist and political commentator who has been published in numerous international publications. Rolene is the owner of Rolene Marks Consulting, a PR, Marketing and Israel Advocacy company and can be heard every Monday afternoon on Chai FM, commentating on events in the region. Rolene Marks resides in Modiin, Israel.