I know I said that on Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut I truly felt like an Israeli, but I was wrong. Last night I went to a rally in Rabin Square for the 3 missing Israeli teens. I had prepared a blog post about it this morning and when I came home this evening to finish it I found out that this afternoon their bodies were discovered.
"Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped on the night of June 12 at a hitchhiking post outside the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem...The bodies were found at about 5:30 p.m., bound and partially buried, in an open field in a hard-to-access area known as Wadi Tellem near Halhul. The site is less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where the teens had been abducted." — Times of Israel, Hamas will pay, says PM after body of kidnapped teens found
Yesterday I witnessed tens of thousands, myself and my friend Alex included, gather in this city square to sing and pray together for the safe return of these boys. I watched mothers hold their children, crying at the thought that those boys could be their boys or girls. I watched fellow teens pass out posters and stickers, swaying along to songs and prayers. Who knows how many of them might have known those boys personally. The Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, and the mothers of the 3 boys addressed the crowd. Their strength in the situation was incredible and I have an idea why. They were able to stay so strong, never losing hope, because they had millions of Israelis and people around the world sending their love, thoughts, and prayers.
Unfortunately things did not go as we had all hoped. These 3 innocent boys were murdered in cold blood. Outside we may feel the blistering heat of the Israeli summer, but inside we feel the chill of this tragic event.
They chose the slogan for the hashtag campaign "Bring Back Our Boys". Last night I truly realized what that meant. They were my boys. These were OUR boys, all of ours. I sent my thoughts and prayers when my boys were missing, and I mourn with everyone knowing my boys have been murdered. We together as an Israeli nation, a Jewish nation, mourned their absence and hoped with all of our hearts for their return. And now we as a nation mourn their deaths, a murderous act of true terror. Sadly my epiphany of feeling like a true Israeli has come with such a tragedy.