Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Our Children Are

I don't know where the boys are. I'll start off by saying that. But I do know where our children are...at least a whole bunch of them. I drove home from a client in Herziliya today, needing to pick up something along the way. Traffic was bad all over - a fire on one road, accident on another, more police activity, security and checking...not the greatest of commutes home.

And if that weren't enough, I spent part of the time with tears pouring down my face...and not just once. I passed Elad, the city were Eyal, the 19 year old student lives with his family. Today, his parents joined the other two sets of parents to meet with the Prime Minister and be updated. I have no doubt that when they returned home to their city, they too were overwhelmed.

I know where our children are. They were standing, dozens, perhaps hundreds, at the entrance to Elad - small children and bigger ones. And three boys who had climbed on top of the bus station. They  were carrying pictures and signs - BRING OUR BOYS HOME...and their pictures and their names - Eyal, Naftali, Gilad. And they were waving Israeli flags - not just holding them - but waving them back and forth with all the pride and strength you can imagine.

I couldn't take a picture - I was driving and my phone's battery was dead anyway. But imagine a boy standing tall - high up on the bus station roof, waving a flag slowly back and forth. LOOK at me, he was saying. THIS is my flag. THIS is my country. I'm here for Eyal. We are the children of Israel.

I stopped off and picked up the bag I needed to get...and as I turned past Modiin - there were more children. Waving flags and clapping their hands and singing. We are the children of Israel. We are here for Gilad and Eyal and Naftali.

And I drove into Jerusalem, more tired than you can imagine. I can barely sleep at night. My alarm woke a little after 5:30 in the morning. A full day of meetings and work and my eyes have been stinging from all the tears. And there they were - our children on the corners of Jerusalem - waving flags. We are the children of Israel and you cannot stop us. You cannot defeat us. This is our flag; this is our land. We are here for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal.

All over Israel - our children took to the streets. They are not hiding; they are fighting back. Our soldiers, our sons and daughters, are searching for you - Eyal, Gilad, Naftali.

Naftali's mother spoke to the nation today again with grace and strength and then she spoke to the boys. "Eyal, Gilad, Naftali – we love you, and we miss you. Be strong."

I've cried so much over the last few days, prayed so hard. Last night, I was at the Western Wall after midnight and there were hundreds of people there. A man called out the first line of the Psalm 121.
I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
And all around me, I heard people repeat after him.
I lift my eyes to the mountains-from where will my help come?
And then the answer... 
My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
And the promise God has given to his people
He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
A few days ago, Eyal's brother was reading these lines out. And it was here that his voice broke; here he could barely say the words.
The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protective shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time.
All over Israel today and through the night, we are repeating these words. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night, Eyal. The Lord will guard you from all evil, Gilad.  The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time, Naftali.

We are waiting for you to come home - we, and the children of Israel. They are standing on the street corners, waving flags and showing their pride. They are sending their strength to you, praying for you. Come home soon. Please God, come home soon.

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