President Shimon Peres met with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli teens Thursday, and assured them that security forces are doing “everything to bring the boys home.” He also urged the international community to speak up “loud and clear” against terrorism.
Later, the parents visited the Western Wall, where Rachel Frankel, mother of Naftali, urged young Israeli women praying for the boys to “stay united” and not be broken even if the three were not safely returned.
“I asked to meet you because this is a national event, the whole nation is united and standing by your side and praying with you for the safe return of your boys,” Peres said to the families at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. “Security forces are working day and night in every street and alley of Hebron and leaving no stone unturned in the effort to find your boys.”
“Security forces will do everything to bring the boys home,” he promised.
The president appealed to the international community to be more outspoken in condemning terror.
“The leaders of the world must make their voices heard loud and clear; they must take a strong stance against terror,” he implored. “Terror is a global problem, not just an Israeli one — we must recruit the world.”
The parents of Frankel, Gil-ad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach thanked Peres for inviting them to the residence, expressed gratitude for the far-reaching support they have received from Peres and the entire country, and called on “the whole world to act to free our boys.”
“Your invitation to us is another example of the genuine support we have felt over the past days from all directions, with no distinction between religion, politics or sector,” Ofir Shaar said. “Your words strengthen us as we stand strong and united in this difficult time that our families find themselves in. The people of Israel are with us. The Jews of the world are with us. We expect the whole world to act to free our boys.”
“We ask of you all to do more,” Shaar said. “To increase your prayers alongside the actions of the security services who are working night and day to bring back Naftali, Eyal and Gil-ad home safely as soon as possible.”
Peres, who will leave June 24 to the United States on his final foreign trip as president, said that he will urge American leaders to take action against terrorism worldwide.
“During my conversations with President Obama and the leaders of the US Congress I will raise the cry of the people of Israel against terrorism, both in private and in public,” he said. “We must continue to pressure the terrorists to remove their sources of funding. Just as there were sanctions against Iran we must raise the sanctions against any source of terror.”
The three teenagers were last seen at a hitchhiking post near the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc of settlements, south of Jerusalem, last Thursday night.
After meeting with Peres, the teenagers’ parents took part in a prayer session at the Western Wall. Racheli Frankel, Naftali’s mother, conversed with several children at the site and told them to continue praying for the yeshiva students’ release. She also urged the children not to lose faith, and not to be broken, even if their prayers are not answered.
“I believe wholeheartedly that they [the boys] will return, but whatever happens, remember God does not work for us, do not forget, even if God forbid, something happens,” Frankel said. “I believe they will come back but if not, please be united. Be united.”