My heart has been breaking for the parents, most especially, of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel of blessed memory. Theirs is a trauma like no other and the murder of these three boys is despicable.
As you may be aware there are plans for a vigil to be held outside the Israeli Embassy this Wednesday - 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB (nearest tube, High St Kensington). Please gather at 6.45pm.
The event will be addressed by the Ambassador of Israel, Daniel Taub, the Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and others will offer their reflections.
It is being supported by the Embassy of Israel, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, BICOM, UJIA, CST, the Zionist Federation, We Believe in Israel and the UJS.
I’m honoured to share these words from my friend and colleague, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg who expresses beautifully some of the other emotions I feel; beyond the heartbreak and the anger at such heartless venality.
The overwhelming feeling is of deep sorrow at three young, eager lives so cruelly and brutally ended. There is great sadness for their parents and families and for the grief which now engulfs them, a grief which so many people here tragically know so well. The families have been very dignified in their response. They have included Abu Mazen among those to whom they have expressed thanks for their support.
There is also a wider awareness of what violence means for everyone in the region. This brings to mind Yehudah Amichai's remarkable poem about an Arab shepherd looking for his lost goat and a Jewish father looking for his son on Mount Zion. Both desperately want to find them before they enter 'the dreadful Chad Gadya machine'. It seems, horribly, that there are some people, like those who abducted and killed the three boys, who with heartless brutality want to keep feeding that awful engine with its cycle of destruction in which one creature devours another.
Everyone here with whom I've spoken is anxious about the response to the murders, and the response to the response. This is a profound challenge: what can we do to bring the cycle of destruction to a stop?
May the memories of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel be a blessing and may we continue to strive towards a time when every man shall sit under their vine and their fig tree and none shall make them afraid.