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June 30, 2014 10:42 am

A Message to Israelis and the Kidnapping Victims: You Are Not Alone

avatar by Yael Eckstein

Opinion
Rachel Frankel (in light green), mother of 16-year-old kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, accompanied by Iris Yifrach (behding her, to the right) and Bat-Galim Shaar (behind her, to the left), mothers of the two other teenaged kidnap victims, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, addressing the United Nations in Geneva on behalf of the human rights group UN Watch, in June 24, 2014. Photo: UN Watch / Screenshot.

Rachel Frankel (in light green), mother of 16-year-old kidnap victim Naftali Frankel. Photo: UN Watch / Screenshot.

The past few weeks have united the Jewish people, as is so often the case in times of crisis. The kidnapping of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad has left us all praying for their safe return, praying for their families, and praying for the IDF soldiers who have spent day and night searching for them.

It’s also left us feeling isolated. The world media covered the kidnapping on the first day, the reactions on the second day, the military operations to rescue them on the third day, and then the coverage gradually dissipated almost entirely. We’ve been left wondering where the legions of international journalists here in the Middle East are when three innocent boys are kidnapped on their way back home.

But throughout this time there have been those who have stood behind us, offering messages of support and prayer in the millions. Christian friends of Israel from across the world have contacted the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and asked us to pass on their messages to the families. I met with the father of one victim, Avi Frankel, this week in what was one of the most moving meetings of my life. The courage, resilience, and dignity with which he and the rest of the parents have conducted themselves has been an inspiration to us all.

I went to offer my support and that of my father, I went to pray with him, but most of all I went to deliver a clear message: you are not alone.

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I shared with him the outpouring of support from the Christian world and presented a book with just some of the thousands of messages and prayers that flooded in to The Fellowship over the past days. One wrote, “Dearest Lord, I pray you will help these be found. I pray no harm comes to them. Bless them and set them free from their captors. You helped Joseph, you preserved David, you free the Israeli captives, you can do this too. We appreciate your love and your care for these young men.” Another read: “We pray that God will be their strength and comfort and that they are each returned to their families safely and soon. We have been praying constantly for them since we first heard the news. And we pray for the IDF.”

The Fellowship was created by my father to build a strategic relationship between Christians across the world and the Jewish people. Over the past 30 years, that relationship has flourished. From the moment we heard about the kidnappings we began to raise awareness; we have sent more than half a million e-mails, and reached more than 1.2 million people through social media and another 20 million through radio broadcasts.

I made a pledge to Avi Frankel that I would like to share with you, and ask Christians and Jews across the world to help me fulfill. I pledged that we will keep the boys at the front of everyone’s minds, we will not forget and we will not let others forget: To keep up the pressure, to raise awareness, to support the families, this should now be a sacred mission for us all.

The Jewish people are not alone; we just need to open our eyes to the millions of Christians that love us. Then we can create real change, enjoy true brotherhood, and strengthen Israel like never before. The Fellowship will continue to reach out to our millions of Christians friends across the world, we will offer our prayers and they will offer theirs with the goal of bringing Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali back home safely to their parents, where they belong.

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