Everyone is deeply saddened by the murder of the three boys. Among the many statements which try to express the sorrow of this time, I’m especially moved by these words from Rabbis for Human Rights:
‘Words fail at this time. Nevertheless, at hearing the news of the murders of Naftali Frenkel z”l, Eyal Yifrach z”l and Gilad Shaer z”l, we wish to express the profound pain we feel along with all of Am Yisrael and those of all faiths who honour the Image of God in every human being. We send our most profound condolences to the families and we mourn alongside them. Baruch dayan ha’emet.’
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?
I understand the mood here among the political leadership is deeply sad, and reflective and thoughtful.