A Nation Grieves: Israeli Teens Kidnapped by Hamas Found Dead

— by Alex Lipton, Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region

Following extensive searches led by the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Security Agency and the Israel Police, the bodies of Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Sha’er (16) and Naftali Frenkel (16), who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on June 12, 2014, were discovered today in the area northwest of Hebron.

A community memorial service will be held today, July 1st at 6:30 p.m. at Congregation Mikveh Israel, 44 North 4th Street, Philadelphia.

All of us, who for the past 18 days have been hoping and praying for the boys’ safe return home, grieve today along with their families.

More after the jump.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, referred to the developments at a security cabinet meeting yesterday:

In the name of the whole of Israel, I ask to tell the dear families — to the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers and the grandfathers, the brothers and sisters — our hearts are bleeding, the whole nation is crying with them.

Israel’s outgoing president, Shimon Peres, said that “Israel bows its head”:

For 18 days we hoped and prayed with one voice that we would find the boys safe and well. With this bitter news all of Israel mourns their deaths. Along with our deep sense of loss we remain committed to bringing the terrorists to justice. Our resolve in the fight against terror will only strengthen and we will ensure that murderous terrorism of this sort will not dare to rear its head again.

Jewish Faith Doesn’t Tolerate Violence

Mourning was, and is, the proper response of individuals to such crimes, not misguided attempts by vigilantes to exact “revenge.”

— by Leah Zagelbaum

Reports of arrests of members of the Jewish community in connection with the recent murder of an Arab youth, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, should fill us all with revulsion.

The Jewish faith does not tolerate violence other than in self-defense and condemns murder as a grave crime. To take the life of an innocent human being is not only an indefensible, evil act but, here, brings our people down to the level of our most implacable and cruel enemies. It is a chillul Hashem, “desecration of G-d’s name.”

The entire Jewish world was plunged into mourning at the news of the three innocent Jewish teens who were murdered several weeks ago by as-yet unapprehended parties. Mourning was, and is, the proper response of individuals to such crimes, not misguided attempts by vigilantes to exact “revenge,” which is the Creator’s to dispense. May the families of both the murdered Jewish boys and the murdered Arab boy be comforted. And may governmental authorities successfully bring all the murderers to the justice that can be meted out in this world.

Palestinians Celebrate Kidnapping of Israeli Teens

— by Steve Sheffey

The three Israeli teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month still have not been found.

The Palestinians have been celebrating the kidnapping with “The Three Shalits” campaign, named after the previously-kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in which they picture themselves holding three fingers in the air.

The Palestinian Authority (PA)’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, called for the return of the kidnapped boys, saying that the kidnappers were trying to destroy the PA. And yet, one cannot help but conclude that the sick celebration of the kidnapping, which included this appalling cartoon on the PA’s website, is the result of the constant anti-Semitic incitement against Israel that has occurred for decades throughout Palestinian society.

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Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the kidnapping and called for the immediate release of the boys, offering “full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and other members of the Illinois congressional delegation have released statements condemning the kidnapping.

Schneider called on Abbas “to disassociate from Hamas, and any entity that is demonstrated to have participated in this horrible crime.

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Furthermore, the abduction of these innocent boys, the widespread celebrations in the Palestinian Territories of the kidnapping, and ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza, shed light on the broad spectrum of threats that Israelis live with on a daily basis. It is critical that the international community unites in opposition to these types of terrorist activities, and openly condemns those who advocate and celebrate such heinous actions as legitimate.

Schakowski urged “all parties, including the Palestinian Authority, to do everything possible to achieve the prompt release of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.”

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Hamas Doesn’t Need a Reason to Attack Israelis

— by Alex Lipton, Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region

Israel is engaged in an intensive operation to return the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank by Hamas terrorists Thursday night: Gilad Sha’er (16), Naftali Frenkel (16), who has dual Israeli-American citizenship, and Eyal Yifrah (19), to their families.

The kidnapping validates Israel’s assessment that the pact between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas would strengthen Palestinian terrorist organizations, push peace further away and destabilize the area.

Hamas does not need any reason, excuse or incentive to murder and kidnap Israelis. Terrorist attacks are Hamas’ raison d’être. Dozens of attempted kidnappings have been foiled in the last year alone.

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Israel holds the Palestinian Authority, headed by President Abbas, responsible for the fate of the kidnapped teens and for terrorist activity emanating from the areas under its control. The Palestinian Authority — from whose territory the kidnappers came — must do whatever is necessary to assist in bringing the teens home.

The international community should unequivocally condemn the Hamas attack on innocent Israeli teenagers and demand that Palestinian leadership and security forces cooperate fully with Israeli authorities to ensure that Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali are returned to their families unscathed as soon as possible.

Cartoon reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen www.DryBonesBlog.blogspot.com.