The families of three kidnapped Israeli teens met for the first time Tuesday morning at a private home in Nof Ayalon, near Modiin, for what a relative said was a chance to share their common concern for the fate of their missing sons.
The parents and other relatives of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frankel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, who were kidnapped late Thursday night south of Jerusalem, met at the Frankel family home.
The goal of the families’ meeting was “really a group hug. For the moment, they really have one thing in common: the worry about their kidnapped sons,” a relative told Channel 10.
Afterward, flanked by the other parents, Racheli Sprecher Frankel, mother of Naftali Frenkel, told reporters outside the house that the meeting was “very significant.”
“We want… to strengthen security forces, who are working day and night, the decision makers, and the prime minister, who is in contact with us,” she said. “We pray that all the soldiers, and our children, will come home without injury. We send our thanks to all everyone participating in this extraordinary effort.
“During these days,” she continued, “we feel deeply embraced by the entire Jewish nation, which accompanies us throughout the day, which gives us so much support. We ask that the prayers continue… That’s it, all we want is to hug our children. Eyal, Gil-ad, Naftali, we love you, we miss you, be strong, be strong!”
A resident of the community said that the meeting was aimed to encourage the families. “We are all really in the same boat. There is a need for unity because this is not just something private that happened to one family; this is something that affects everyone and the whole nation,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the families during their meeting, and said Israel would leave no stone unturned in the effort to bring the boys back home.
“We’re doing everything in order to find Eyal, Gil-ad, and Naftali,” Netanyahu said. “In the field, we’re making a tremendous operational and intelligence effort for this purpose. In the name of Israel’s citizens, I would like to strengthen you spirits.”
Later Tuesday, Israel’s Police Commander Yohanan Danino, senior IDF officers and several politicians visited the home.
The three were last seen at a hitchhiking post in the Etzion bloc at around 10.15 p.m. The Israeli government has pointed the finger at Hamas and said that it holds the Palestinian Authority responsible for their well-being.
Since the kidnapping Israel has been conducting a massive manhunt in the West Bank and has arrested some 200 Palestinians, including dozens of senior Hamas members.