NIF Grantees Respond to Murder of Israeli Teens

3 July 2014

The NIF network joins the rest of the country – and Jewish world – in mourning kidnapped teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel, and Gil-ad Shaar, whose bodies were found south of Hebron earlier this week. Following the heartbreaking discovery NIF put out a statement calling for peace and reconciliation. Below is a short compilation of statements from NIF grantee organizations:

Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC): IRAC joins Reform Judaism in Israel as we bow our heads in memory of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali, and send condolences to the three laudable families whose hopes that were shared by all of us these past 18 days were severed this evening and turned to anguish of the heart.

We continue to pray that the “sukkah” of peace will cover all of us and all the people who live in the land of Israel.

We hope that the memory of those wonderful youth won’t be marred by acts of vengeance and we call on the responsible authorities to prevent them from happening. If only we can achieve days of consolation, hope, and peace and find the path to bring these wishes to us.

We express our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and communities of the three young boys. May their memory be for a blessing.”

Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI): “ACRI shares the pain of all of Israel, and especially the Frankel, Shaar and Yifrah families, on the deaths of their children. We abhor the deliberate targeting of innocent lives, a crime by all standards of human morality. We must remember the sanctity of human life, especially at this difficult time. We call on the IDF to take action to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. At the same time we call for restraint in the exercise of punitive house demolitions and collective punishments – actions that are both morally unacceptable and unhelpful in locating those responsible. We ask the police and security forces to act decisively to prevent reprisals and forestall any additional violence.”

Kolech: “Kolech is mourning the deaths of the three kidnapped boys and sends condolences to the Shaer, Frankel and Yifrach families. We would like to embrace and reinforce the families at this difficult time and remind them we are all here for them.”

In Jerusalem, following the news of the murders, dozens of Israelis rioted in Jerusalem calling out “Death to the Arabs” and “No Arabs, no terror attacks.” More than 47 people were arrested. The following day, the body of an Arab teenager was found in the Jerusalem Forest. At the time of press, the police suspect he may have been kidnapped from East Jerusalem and killed in a revenge attack; however, they have also been investigating other possible motives for the murder, including circumstances which are not connected to the murder of the Israeli teenagers.

The NIF-convened Tag Meir coalition, who organized an interfaith prayer meeting soon after the boys went missing, responded to the increased tensions with a special vigil in downtown Jerusalem. “We Mourn. We don’t Avenge…Yesterday, in the hours that we tearfully escorted the last journey of Gil-ad, Eyal, and Naftali to their final resting place, the streets of Jerusalem were filled with racism, when a mob sought out Arabs to do them harm. Today, all of us will gather in Zion Square to say: No to Violence! No to Racism! No to Revenge! That is NOT the Jewish way!”