What can you do when you know that they are in such darkness? How do you not lose your mind, resist the urge to lose control, leave the house and scream as if engulfed in flames? Your children are in a hostile territory.
We are not the central figures here. The spotlight is on them — the parents whose children were taken to Gaza. "The most challenging moments come when night descends; nobody wishes for nightfall". This is Yoni Asher's tragic, grief-laden new reality. His two beautiful daughters, Raz, who is 4.5 years old, and Aviv, who is only 2.5 years old, were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with his wife to Gaza.
Yoni, like countless other parents, found his life shattered, cast into a hellish realm where his children are 'simply' missing—an unbearable new reality. Later, Hamas published an exceptionally brutal video, even according to Nazi standards. The video depicted a cart similar to those used for transporting vegetables or goats.
Inside, Israeli women were visible, their faces drained of color from fear, clutching young children tightly. These brave women attempted to forcibly blindfold the children, shielding them from the horrors of this terrifying new world, a world crafted by the devil. Yoni recognized his mother-in-law, wife, and daughters in the video. How will he go on with his life? How does he manage to breathe, let alone eat or sleep? We have no clue.
However, when this resilient, young father states, "the worst is when night falls", there is not a parent in the country who doesn't feel his pain. Throughout the daylight hours, they continue their duties, operating a "war room" from home with the help of relatives and volunteers who freely offer their assistance through Zoom.
In the morning, there is no option but to continue the battle, even in the absence of information and a clear plan of action. However, during the night? Nighttime embodies tenderness and heartache. It is the compassionate period, marked by soothing showers and cozy pajamas.
It's the time when a mother gently places her toddler with honey-colored curls onto the mattress, illuminating the room with a lamp casting vibrant shapes on the wall, "but stay with me until I fall asleep".
And what can you do when you realize your children are navigating this darkness all on their own? Despite assuring them repeatedly that the monster under the bed isn't real and no thief lurks in the closet, they find themselves in endless darkness, meters away from God's most monstrous creation. How do you not lose your sanity, run and cry out in desperation as if your body is on fire? Your children are in Gaza, in hostile grounds.
What can be said about a world in which hundreds of parents are experiencing every parent's worst nightmare, a world in which a five-year-old child realizes she has always been rightfully afraid of the dark? Every moment we are not by their side, searching for ways to help, devising numerous plans with the world's top terrorism experts, is a moment too many.