SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – Local Jewish leaders are reacting to the deaths of Eyal Yifrah (19), Gilad Shaar (16), and Naftali Frenkel (16), three Israeli teens found murdered near Hebron in the West Bank. The teenagers were buried together at the Modi'in Cemetery in Israel on Tuesday.
The boys were kidnapped, presumably by members of the Islamist militant group Hamas, and shot apparently after the kidnappers realized that one of the teenagers had called police on his cell phone. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who delivered the eulogy at the burial service, has vowed that Hamas will "pay a heavy price" for the killings. Since the bodies of the boys were discovered, Israeli jets have conducted air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip.
Dov Ben-Shimon, a former Israeli Army soldier and the next CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, New Jersey, said that the deliberate targeting of teenagers showed the moral depravity and evil nature of those opposed to Israel and peace.
"It is incumbent on all of us, Jews and non-Jews, to reject the forces of terror and support U.S. allies like Israel, who stand with us against this evil," said Ben-Shimon, a Fanwood resident. "Children should be safe and protected, not endangered and not taught to hate."
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ also issued a statement: (We join) with the state of Israel and the worldwide Jewish community in grief and horror following the announcement of the tragic murders of Gilad Shaar, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. Their innocent lives had only just begun when they were so abruptly taken in vain. We hope those who committed this heinous act will be brought to justice. Our hearts go out to their families. May they find strength knowing that we and so many others continue to stand for them and with them. May their memories be a blessing to us all. Baruch Dayan Ha'emet. In memory of #EyalGiladNaftali.
On its website, The JCC of Central New Jersey posted: We are deeply saddened by the tragic news regarding the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped 18 days ago, and whose bodies were found today. May the memories of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel forever be a blessing.