Last June, three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, a tragic and horrific incident which saw the summer devolve into war. Today, friends, family, and many others gathered in Israel to remember the three boys:
More than a thousand people attended an emotional memorial ceremony on Monday in Talmon marking one year since Israeli teenagers Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in an incident that sparked last summer’s Gaza conflict.
Though the three boys are believed to have been murdered on the day of their abduction, their bodies were not found until 18 days later.
Among those present at the ceremony were members of the search teams who looked for the boys as well as the special Israel Defense Forces unit that assisted the families during the search last summer.
Friends, relatives and youth group leaders spoke about their memories of Shaer, Frenkel and Yifrach.
“Exactly one year ago, I opened a new file on my computer and named it ‘Waiting for Gil-adush,'” said Bat-Galim Shaer at the ceremony, using an affectionate nickname for her late son. “Since then, the file has filled up, and, in a way, our lives emptied.”
Shaer’s father, Ofir, said, “For 18 days, I prayed near the part of the synagogue where the mourners stand. I prayed I wouldn’t have to join them. But God had another plan, and I began to recite [the mourners’ prayer]: ‘May His great name be exalted and sanctified.’
“A year has passed and we have recited the prayer so much, sanctifying His name because of you, Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali. Thanks to you, the heavens opened, as did the hearts of so many here in Israel.
“We waited for your rescue, to see you, Gil-adush, here in Talmon for a festive meal to give thanks for your return, but God had other plans. ‘He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace with mercy.’ Peace with ourselves, peace with our spouses, peace with our neighbors.”