(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces said it found the bodies of the three kidnapped Jewish teens near Hebron.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting in the wake of the announcement. The three teenagers—Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16—were abducted June 12 shortly after 10 p.m. while attempting to get a ride home near Gush Etzion.
“They know it’s the three, they will know for sure after they do the autopsy,” an Israeli government official said, the New York Times reported.
According to the Israeli official, it appears that the teens were shot to death, very close to the time of the kidnapping. Israeli authorities say that two missing Hamas terrorists, Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, are the primary suspects in the kidnapping. The two terrorists have been missing from their homes in Hebron since the abductions.
“It is with great sadness that we share the devastating news that the bodies of the three Israeli students who were kidnapped almost two weeks ago have been found near Hebron. Israeli security forces are assembled in that area,” said Susan Weiss Firestone, president of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass., and Meredith Dragon, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass., in a joint statement.
“We all mourn with the parents of Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal and with the whole nation of Israel…Jewish Federations and the worldwide Jewish community join with the State of Israel today in grief and horror following the announcement of the tragic deaths of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar.”
Howard Borer, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Central Mass., said, “We were deeply saddened and upset to hear of the terrible fate that befell our 3 boys.Our sincerest and heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost their beautiful sons, and the people of Israel who once again must bury their loved ones. Many of us have prayed and sent messages to the families, but it is now our sorry task to pay our respect and tribute to Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach.”
Community Memorial Services:
Wednesday, July 2, at 6:30 p.m.
At Sinai Temple
1100 Dickinson St., Springfield
Sponsored by Jewish Federation, Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple and Congregation B’nai Torah.
Wednesday, July 2 at 7 p.m.
Temple Beth Elohim
10 Bethel Road, Wellesley, MA
The service is being organized by CJP and ADL New England.