Today is Wednesday, June 25, 2014. This is day thirteen since three Jewish boys were kidnapped.
Two of the boys were 16 years old. One was 19. All three are students in Yeshiva (religious school).
As a result, the Jewish people in Israel continue to unite. We unite to pray.
Last night, youth groups gathered at the Kotel—the Western Wall--to pray for the boys. This morning, as with all other mornings since the kidnapping, special prayers were repeated in synagogues all across the land.
These boys are our children. They are our brothers. We beg our G-d to return them to us.
As each day goes by without good news, our fears grow. With each passing day, we fear to speak the unspeakable. We fear to think the unthinkable.
We pray for their safe return.
But each passing day brings a different emotion to the Arab. Today, especially, the Arab has much to smile about. He has read yesterday’s late news. Ramadan starts on Saturday—and the Jews say they know what that means.
Ramadan brings the Arab pleasure because Ramadan causes the Jew to be afraid. The Jews know that Ramadan is often a time of Arab rioting on the Temple Mount. It is often the time of increased Arab attacks against IDF soldiers. It is often the time for Arabs to line highways and hurl rocks at Jewish cars passing by.
Ramadan is a time for Arab religious celebration—and Jewish fear. We know that because the Israeli government just announced late yesterday afternoon that it will cut back its Operation Brother’s Keeper. It will diminish its ongoing operation against the Hamas infrastructure in Judea-Samaria that created the ‘incubation farm’ for the kidnapping. It will, it says, maintain only its search for the boys.
It will alter its course because it doesn’t want to provoke Arab riots that commonly occur on Ramadan (“Security Cabinet Reduces Hamas Crackdown for Ramadan”, Arutz Sheva, June 24, 2014). It will alter its course also because, government officials say, international pressure against Israel is rising (ibid).
Israel backs off because of the fear of Arab riots and international pressure. Has Israel lost its courage?
Israel has a strong position here. It can defend itself. It can defend the IDF.
When the kidnapping first occurred, and the IDF went into the Palestinian Authority (PA), Arabs tried to accuse Israel of ‘mass arrests’. But it quickly became obvious that those ‘mass arrests’ were virtually all related to Hamas and other virulent anti-Israel groups in the PA. The accusation disappeared.
The same thing happened with the ‘arbitrary detention’ accusation. As Israel announced each day who was arrested, it quickly became obvious that there was nothing arbitrary about those arrests.
The only outstanding accusation against Israel is ‘collective punishment’. But here, too, Israel has a strong position. Because of the behaviour of both Hamas and Fatah after the kidnapping, Israel can make the case that its investigations, while no doubt aggressive, are legitimate—and not a war crime. In addition, the actions of the IDF in the PA are neither arbitrary nor disproportionally cruel, key characteristics of ‘collective punishment’. Moreover, IDF actions in the PA are not random—another characteristic of ‘collective punishment’. IDF activity in the PA is focused and specific.
But Israel’s officials wilt before this accusation. They answer it, then appear quickly to shut up once the accusation is repeated (“The appalling reaction to Israeli teens’ kidnapping”’ Jennifer Rubin, easybranches.eu/european-news, June 24, 2014)
It looks like Israel was unprepared for international criticism. It looks like Israel naively believed there would be no need to defend itself here. It looks like Israel ignored history and simply assumed that the world would allow it to search for the boys who disappeared, and arrest the people who agitated for—and might have acted for--the kidnapping.
Israel was wrong.
The UN has been only mildly concerned about the missing boys. The UN’s main concern since the June 12th kidnapping has been the response of the Israeli government to the kidnapping (ibid). That response has not been positive or supportive.
Instead of aggressively defending itself, Israel has chosen to back off. It bows submissively before its enemies.
Clearly, this is a ‘win’ for the Arab. It demonstrates that the ends—to demonize Israel—justify the means—kidnap Jews, then accuse Israel of crimes when it responds.
Israel’s Jewish leadership has lost its courage. It no longer understands courage. It gives up its courage because it has given up its religion.
Jews are not like everybody else. They are different. For the Jew, courage comes only from G-d. If you reject or ignore G-d, you lose your courage.
It’s that simple. If you want proof, look at how Israel responds to the Arab and to the UN.
Without G-d, Israel retreats.