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.

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.

More after the jump.
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.