Residents of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc gathered overnight Thursday for a nighttime session of song, solidarity and prayer for the release of the three yeshiva students who were kidnapped by Palestinians in the area June 12.
For the second consecutive evening, the residents came together to demonstrate support for Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, as well as their families.
“We gathered again to demonstrate our support for Gil-ad, Eyal, and Naftali, and to let their families know how much love the residents of Gush Etzion have for them,” said Yishai Hughes, Dani Eisenstock and Hillel Porath, all residents of Efrat, and the coorganizers of the gathering.
“We have been profoundly inspired by the parents of the boys, who by their example have strengthened all of us to continue hoping, praying, and uniting around a common purpose. We ask that Jews in Israel and the Diaspora continue to show their care and concern for the boys and their families, and keep hope alive.”
Hughes, Eisenstock and Porath highlighted the significance of the timing of last night’s gathering, which took place exactly two weeks after the abduction. “As time distances us from the initial trauma of the boys’ kidnapping, we have to make an extra effort to counter the natural inclination towards complacency and apathy.”
A classmate and close friend of Shaar and Fraenkel who was also in attendance, David Taragin, thanked Israeli society, “religious and secular,” for supporting him and his classmates through the ordeal in the two weeks since the kidnapping. He also thanked those who were supporting the students’ families, friends and loved ones.
The organizers said in a statement Thursday that they plan to hold similar gatherings at the Gush Etzion Junction until the three are released.