Bodies of Three Kidnapped Students Found Near Hebron

Mourning commences throughout Israel and the world for terrorists’ victims 

The three missing high school students, from left: Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar

 The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West Bank earlier this month have been found by Israeli forces north of the city of Hebron.

The three students—Eyal Yifrah, 19, from Elad; Gilad Shaar, 16, from Talmon; and Naftali Frenkel, 16, from Nof Ayalon—went missing 18 days ago on their way home from a yeshivah in the West Bank. When the three failed to arrive home or make contact with their families, authorities were notified. Naftali Frenkel is also an American citizen.

The boys’ parents—Ophir and Bat Galim Shaar, Uri and Iris Yifrach, and Avi andRachel Frenkel—were told of the tragic news soon after the bodies were found by a search team that included IDF soldiers from an elite unit. It was apparent, authorities said, that the teens were killed soon after their abduction and were partially buried in an open field in an area that was difficult to access.

Israeli security forces had been intensively searching near the Halul junction just north of Hebron for the three teens on Monday, amid clashes with local Palestinians.

The Israel Defense Force had scoured the city and its environs as part of “Operation Brother’s Keeper,” and shifted its focus as the effort continued into its third week when suspects in the kidnapping were identified.

Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar were students at Mekor Chaim Yeshiva High School, which is presided over by Rabbi Adin (Even-Yisrael) Steinsaltz. Eyal Yifrah studied at Shavey Hevron yeshivah in Hebron.

Rabbi Steinsaltz issued the following statement after hearing the tragic news.

“My dear friends:

I have just learned that the bodies of our three boys—Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach–have been found. My heavy heart is with the families.

All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten Thee, neither have we been false to Thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy path; Though Thou hast crushed us into a place of jackals, and covered us with the shadow of death. (Psalms 44:18-20)

These boys, our boys, have died al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification ofG‑d's name), simply because they are Jews.

Nay, but for Thy sake are we killed all the day; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (Psalms 44:23)

We cannot just light a candle and say a prayer. It is up to us now to live our lives in Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify G‑d through our deeds and our lives.

The word chaim (life) is in the plural because it contains both the good and the bad. It is up to us to go on.

Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercy's sake. (Psalms 44:27)”