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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 3 Apr 2020 06:52 PM and ends Sat 4 Apr 2020 07:50 PM

Strength and Unity under adverse conditions

ט"ו תמוז ה' אלפים תשס"ח

Today two of our captured soldiers, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah two years ago, were returned to us.

I was in the gym this morning watching the live coverage from Lebanon. As the time drew nearer I noticed many of the staff members had come into the room to watch the broadcast. Then the Lebanese spokesman announced that Lebanon is ready to return Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to Israel. When asked if they were still alive, he said “Lets go and take a see right now”. Even though we all knew they were most probably not alive, I still held my breath. I looked around the room saw the faces of anticipation, of hope mingled with pain and all I could think was “Please, Please let me them be alive”. The cameras turned to a black van and out came two black boxes. Tears stung my eyes, a lady in front of my wiped her face, the look of hope gone from everyone’s face, and the newsreader went silent. All we could hear were her deep sighs.

I finished my work out and went to the change rooms. I saw a lady with red and teary eyes, and I thought, did she know one of these boys? Was she their aunt, their cousin, their family friends? And then I thought to myself, it doesn’t really matter. We all stood still and watched the TV, we all begged, pleaded and bargained with Gd “Please let there be a miracle, one last chance, please let them be alive”. And that feeling of loss brought tears to many people’s eyes, even those who didn’t know Ehud or Eldad. And yet, we continued with our lives. We finished exercising, we went to the supermarket, picked our children up from day camp, because life does go on. And even though we feel pain, we continue with our lives because if nothing else, Israelis are tough - they are tough when you push in front of them and they are tough when they loose someone they love. And perhaps, that is our strength and that is our hope - “Avernu Et Paroh – Gam Ze Ya’over” - “We survived Pharoah, and we will survive this”.

The headlines for the broadcast were “Veshavu Banim” – “Our sons will return”. We are one people – we laugh together and we cry together. When someone’s son is kidnapped by terrorists, we all feel the pain, we wait with our breath held and our hearts in our throat for their return and when they are returned to us in coffins we all feel the pain and we all shed tears.

We must use this strength and this unity to fight and to win and all we can do now is pray that our other boys will be returned to us.

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