On Thursday, June 12, three Israeli students—Naftali Frankel (16), Gilad Shaar (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19)—were abducted on their way home from religious school in the West Bank. Naftali Frankel also has dual Israeli/American citizenship.
Hadassah’s joins with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and others in the Jewish community in praying for the safe return of the Israeli youths and calling for the Palestinian Authority and unity government to act decisively to assist in finding the youths and those responsible.
Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed concern and solidarity on behalf of the organization (of which Hadassah is a member) in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu. The letter affirmed that American Jewry stands together with the government and people of Israel, and particularly, the families of the three youths.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, “The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. …We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services.” Kerry has also been in contact with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about this issue.
Take Action! Thank Secretary Kerry for his statements and urge President Obama to speak out publically condemning the kidnappings and supporting Israel’s use of all means necessary to find the Israeli teens. Hadassah also urges the American government to provide all other avenues of support and exertion of international pressure in order to ensure that these young men can return home speedily and safely.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that members of Hamas—the terrorist organization and part of the new Palestinian unity government—carried out the attack. Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group connected to Abbas’ Fatah party, has claimed responsibility and demands the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the three Israeli youths. However, there is doubt about the statement’s veracity and it has yet to be verified.
Hadassah released a statement on June 3 expressing disappointment and deep concern about the formation of a Palestinian unity government including Hamas. The Palestinian Authority (PA) must also be held responsible for the kidnappings and the inclusion of Hamas in the Palestinian unity government. Hadassah joins a bipartisan group of 88 Senators in urging President Barack Obama to ensure full compliance with the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and to pressure Palestinian President Abbas to return to the negotiating table with Israel and comply with the Quartet principles required for any recognition of a Palestinian government.
Today, Hadassah joins with fellow members of the Jewish community at a prayer vigil at the Israeli Consulate in New York and encourages Hadassah members, associates, and supporters to attend rallies in their communities advocating for the boys’ safe return. Visit the Hadassah National Action Center to advocate for the return of the kidnapped Israeli teens and participate in the #EyalGiladNaftali and #BringBackOurBoys campaigns on social media.
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Date: 6/16/2014 12:00:00 AM