Members of Brazil’s Jewish community held a demonstration Tuesday near the site of the FIFA World Cup games in Rio de Janeiro in solidarity with the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank last week.
The protesters urged the international community to work towards the release of Eyal Yifrach, 19, from Elad near Petah Tikva, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, from the settlement of Talmon, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, a dual Israeli-American citizen from Nof Ayalon near Modi’in, who were abducted while hitchhiking south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
“The global media is silent, so we decided to cry out for the hostages in the main event which the world is watching every day,” said Rabbi Rami Avigdor, one of the organizers of the rally and the head of Centro Kehila, an organization which aims to strengthen Jewish identity in South America.
“Everyone who came to the demonstration believes in our power to bring change,” he said.
The three teenagers were kidnapped last Thursday night in the West Bank. They were last seen at a hitchhiking post in the Etzion Bloc of settlements south of Jerusalem at around 10:25 p.m.
Israel has held Hamas responsible for the kidnapping and has carried out dozens of raids in the West Bank over the past few days. Some 200 Palestinians have been arrested and over 800 homes have been searched since the three teens were seized.
Though Israeli officials have blamed Hamas for the abduction, the group has denied involvement, and on Tuesday said the crackdown was “politically motivated,” in a statement.
IDF activity on Tuesday expanded across all of the West Bank in an effort to hamstring Hamas’s financial and operational infrastructure, an official said. Israel’s security cabinet discussed further steps Monday, including the possible deportation of Hamas leaders from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is in control.