Israel and a Community United

Israel and a Community United

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    CG Yehuda Yaakov CG Yehuda Yaakov

    Almost three weeks ago I wrote to you hoping that Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach would return to us safe and sound. On Monday, our hearts were torn apart upon learning that these three innocent boys were murdered in cold blood. May they rest in peace.

    My hands shake as I write this message; the images of their funerals still pass before my eyes. The expressions of sympathy, from our friends here in the Jewish community, have been invaluable in soothing the pain to the extent humanly possible. Hard as it may be to believe, the special prayers, phone calls, emails, tweets and statements of condolence, helped immensely in this time of need.

    During the heart-wrenching period of waiting, I attended numerous community events of solidarity where we prayed together in hopes of a positive outcome. However, last night's memorial service at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley (arranged by our friends at CJP and JCRC) was different. At that point, hope was already lost. Instead, we mourned, together as Jews, like so many times before. Once again, we were reminded that we are one; that the ocean between us is merely a physical barrier.

    For the more than 600 members of the community in attendance at last night's memorial, I thank you. For those of you that were unable to physically attend, but were certainly there in spirit, please allow me to summarize my message:

    Israel and its people would like nothing more than to finally reach the shores of peace and tranquility; to bask in the pride of being a start-up nation; to sit back and enjoy our vibrant democracy and the creativity of our multi-cultural mosaic. However, our geographical location presents a specific set of challenges, and wishing that away will not change the fact that the Middle East continues to be a particularly rough neighborhood. So, we must continue to be both Athens and Sparta; to be both a start-up nation and Fortress Israel. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that; so, I mean it when I say: your continued support is entirely crucial.

    As expressions of solidarity pour in - from all streams and ends of the political spectrum - I find it truly remarkable just how wonderful this community is, how lucky I am to be a part of it, and just how much Israel continues to be a unifier among Jews. We don't always agree – here, as in Israel - but we can take pride in our joint passion for the betterment of the State of Israel and its society. Self-betterment is a characteristic we share with the US itself; no wonder the two countries and peoples enjoy such a close friendship. 

    Wherever my work takes me here in New England, I can feel the identification with Israel and the concern for not only its security, but also for its being. Israel remains at the center of our bond, the focus of a generations-long effort to realize an astonishingly successful, multi-faceted vision for a democratic and open society. 

    Today, as we comfort the families of the three teens who have been laid to rest, we are once again reminded that Israel has been, and will continue to be, a joint project of the Jewish people. It is the tent in which all Jews - no matter what your spiritual inclination, no matter what your political leaning - can sit comfortably together. That is the way it should always be, and we, here at the Consulate, will continue to work, as hard as ever, alongside you, to make sure of that.

    As we take a pause from life’s burdens to enjoy the Fourth of July and the independence of this great nation, please remember our latest tragedy. We have no choice but to hope and to act, so that one day, Israel will enjoy a similar sense of peace and tranquility. May the memories of Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal be a blessing. May you have a meaningful and safe July 4th.​ 

    More by the Consul General:

    Three Teenagers Abducted in the West Bank

    Existing with Purpose

    Israel at 66: A Source of Pride​

    CG Yehuda Yaakov op-eds​