Three teenage boys traveling home from their religious seminary to be with their families for the Jewish Sabbath get into a car and the nightmare begins. The fates of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are unknown. It is not even known which terror group has abducted them. It would not be a surprise to discover it was Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization, that has used kidnappings before in its struggle to uproot the State of Israel. The United States State Department has condemned the kidnappings and mentioned Hamas specifically as the most likely organization. The irony is clear: Only a short while ago Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, announced a unity government with Hamas, and now we are witness to the abduction of three children by very likely that same group, now officially part of the official Palestinian government.
There needs to be a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There needs to be a peaceful settlement to the question of settlements. These are absolutely true statements. Yet, equally and profoundly true is the notion that children must not be used as pawns in this conflict. Mothers and fathers must not be forced to agonize over whether their children will come back alive, and if they come back alive, to wonder how much physical and psychological damage will they have sustained. In the Islamic tradition the Qu’ran states clearly: “take not life which Allah has made sacred (6:151)” and within the Jewish tradition we are taught that all people are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). How much more so must these joint declarations of the sacredness of life be when applied to children.
I do not know if those who abducted Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are following the news and social media coverage of their heinous action. I do not know if they are thinking about their actions or involved in any contemplation whatsoever. I can only imagine that they acted in such a manner because they felt it would help them accomplish a political and/or religious goal. To that I say that whatever goal you think it will accomplish, your efforts have been stained and your hands are filthy with misdeed and dishonor to both your cause and to your faith. It is not too late to restore some semblance of dignity to yourselves and #BringBackOurBoys.