The cousin of an American teenager being held hostage by Hamas terrorists has announced a vigil outside the White House.
“The first day I heard the news, I was really down; as I was eating breakfast or casually watching TV, I’d just think about what’s happening to him at that moment, what he’s going through,” Halberstam recounts. “But Naftali’s mother, Racheli, is just so incredibly positive – that the security forces will find him – that I thought to myself that if the boy’s mother is able to be so positive about a situation that is so disturbing, surely I should be able to be more positive and hopeful about it too.”
Moving from shock to action, Halberstam began, together with his friend Aaron Wolff, to search for a plan of action to help his cousin – in fact, his entire Israeli family – from afar. The two decided to hold a vigil Thursday outside the White House in an effort to send a message to the country’s foreign policy leaders.
Halberstam says that the two “hope that we can get enough people to send a strong message to President Obama that what is going on in Israel is not isolated to Israel but touches and concerns us in America.”
“All efforts should be exerted to ensure these children safely reunite with their families,” he says.
“For many of us, Naftali Frankel and the other boys are our family, whether by blood, by faith or by culture,” he explains. “It is not just about sending Obama a message but also about sending a message to the families in Israel who are experiencing so much suffering and showing them that communities in America have deep sympathy for what they are going through.”
Over 100 people have committed to attend, and Wolff and Halberstam hope that the number will continue to grow as word spreads.
As an American who feels a very strong connection with people in Israel, when there is a horrible incident like this kidnapping, it seems like there is a limited number of things that we can do to solve this problem and help return the boys home safely,” says Halberstam.
It would certainly help if Obama stopped funding Hamas.