Israelis and pro-Israel activities started a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter Friday to raise awareness about the kidnappings of the three young yeshiva students who were kidnapped late Thursday night in the Gush Etzion area in the West Bank.
The three — Gil-ad Shaar (16) from the settlement of Talmon, Naftali Frenkel (16) a dual Israeli-American citizen from Nof Ayalon near Modi’in, and Eyal Yifrach (19) from Elad near Petah Tikva — were reportedly last spotted at a hitchhiking post in the vicinity of Hebron on Thursday night. No one has seen or heard from them since.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Saturday that they were kidnapped by a terrorist organization, and said that Israel would do everything possible to bring them back safely.
The #BringBackOurBoys hashtag was trending on Twitter Saturday evening at about 2,500 tweets per hour, according to hashtags.org, an analytics website.
The Facebook page for the group had over 20,000 likes as of Saturday night.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) June 14, 2014
The drive is based on the recent #BringBackOurGirls viral campaign, started shortly after the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in the country. It shot to popularity after First Lady Michellle Obama was photographed holding a sign bearing the hashtag.
Shortly after it launched, #BringBackOurBoys was also being used by Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists to attract attention to the plight of Palestinians in Israeli jails.
Israel kidnaps every week dozens of Palestinians: at checkpoints, in their homes, at protests. #BringBackOurBoys
— Zalameh (@BDS4Justice) June 14, 2014