Daniel Mael

Almost two weeks since the abduction of American citizen Naftali Frenkel, President Barack Obama has yet to publicly say a word. Utter silence.

Palestinian terrorists abducted Frenkel, and two Israeli teenagers, on the evening of June 12th. While no person or organization has stepped forward to take credit, Israel claims that that they have indisputable evidence to link the hostage situation to Hamas and that they have provided this information to the State Department. Secretary of State John Kerry has gone as far as to publicly state, “Many indications point to Hamas’ involvement.”

One would think that the president of the United States would speak after the abduction of an American citizen. But in the case of Frenkel, the president has remained silent.

Obama’s silence is problematic for two reasons. For starters, Frenkel has an American passport and one would think that the president would speak up when a 16-year-old American goes missing. Moreover, Frenkel is a dual-citizen of America’s greatest ally in the Middle East: Israel. Thus, naturally the president should have no problem condemning the horrific terrorist attack that has paralyzed those who care about human rights.

But perhaps most importantly, as the leader of the free world, President Obama is obligated to publicly speak out against such an atrocity.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said of her boss, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Obama after the White House meeting” with “Israeli President Shimon Peres and American Jewish leaders,” they expressed “deep concern” for the “three missing Israeli teenagers.”

A third hand account and no mention of the word kidnapping. Not exactly reassuring for the family of Naftali Frenkel or the U.S. and Israel public.

Again, why no public statement – condemnation of this abhorrent act from the president?

Even if the president questions American exceptionalism and prefers “nation building at home” rather than stronger US-intervention, a member of the family of nations must rebuke such horrific behavior- especially directed at one its very own. A posture of silence on this issue signals nothing more than just weakness and sends a message to terrorists that America is apathetic when you take one of our own.


Daniel Mael

Daniel Mael is a student at Brandeis University and a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and TruthRevolt.org.