By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos

The search for the three captivated Israel. Via

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (BosNewsLife)– An influential Jewish rights organization says the killing of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers should prompt the United States to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end his cooperation with Hamas, the militant group.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) made the appeal shortly after Israeli authorities confirmed they found the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship.

They disappeared while hitchhiking home near the West Bank city of Hebron late at night on June 12 and were never heard from again.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.” He added the teenagers “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts.”

Netanyahu was still meeting with his Security Cabinet to discuss a response, when SWC already called for tough international actions.


“President [Barack] Obama must act by sending an unmistakable message to President Abbas: ‘Are you the leader of a government that seeks peace or the leader who accepts murderers of children as part of his government?’,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier, SWC founder and dean, and Abraham Cooper, a SWC associate dean.

“President Obama must tell the Palestinian people that peace and Hamas are mutually exclusive and that the U.S. will no longer agree to any contact with a Palestinian government where any member of Hamas – political, military, or technocrat,” Hier and Cooper said in a statement to BosNewsLife.

“This is not a time for ambiguity but for decisive action…Those are our children who were murdered by Hamas. But make no mistake the leadership of that terrorist organization is already planning the next attack against women and children,” they added.

They spoke while a large contingent of Israeli security forces was seen in the West Bank later on Monday, June 30, between Halhul and the West Bank settlement Karmei Tzur, just north of Hebron, where the three were believed to have been kidnapped.


Following the abduction, the Israel’s army launched Operation Brother’s Keeper, a massive search for the three throughout the West Bank and conducted operations against Hamas.

Two of the teens were students at the Makor Chaim yeshiva in the religious kibbutz of Kfar Etzion,
while the third studied at Shavey Hevron yeshiva in the West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli media reported.

When the three failed to arrive home or make contact with their families, authorities were notified.

The search for the teens captured the Jewish nation’s attention. Israeli media provided round-the-clock updates and mothers of the three teens became high-profile figures as they campaigned for their sons’ return.


Israelis held daily prayer vigils, including mass gatherings attended by tens of thousands of people at
the Western Wall, viewed by many Jews as the holiest prayer site in Judaism, and in a downtown square in Tel Aviv.

Palestinian President Abbas has condemned the kidnappings and his forces supported Israeli troops in the search for the missing teens. However Netanyahu urged Abbas to do more and dissolve a unity government he recently formed with the backing of Hamas.

Israel’s government claims it is impossible to be committed to peace while sitting together with a group that kidnaps Israelis.

“Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades,” Netanyahu warned earlier this month.

“We will do whatever needs to be done to protect our people.”


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