Israel Prays for the Safe Return of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali

June 19, 2014

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Dear Friends of The Fellowship,

As of today, the kidnapped teenage Israeli boys — 16-year-old Gilad Shaar, 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach — have been missing for seven days. There is no news of their whereabouts, and the IDF — which has been tirelessly searching for them — is, understandably, releasing minimal public information about its efforts.

We have learned, however, that in the IDF's search — which they have dubbed Operation Brother's Keeper — they have arrested approximately 240 Palestinian suspects. More than 50 of these suspects were released from Israeli prisons as part of the 2011 prisoner swap that led to the freeing of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas for five years. If any of those Palestinians freed in the 2011 swap are found to have taken part in the abduction of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, it will cast a pall on any future deals.

I recall a story from the book of Daniel — the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who served in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar in biblical times. These young men refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's idol of gold and were threatened with dire punishment because of it. They replied to the king, "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty's hand" (Daniel 3:16-17). And, indeed, they were delivered.

Let us all pray that Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal — and all of us — retain this kind of faith and trust in God’s saving power even in times of crisis like this. And let us also pray that these three young men know that millions of people around the world, Jews and Christians alike, continue to pray for their safe return.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada


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