Five Years After Teens Murdered, What’s Changed?

Stand for Israel  |  June 11, 2019

Holding up an Israeli flag, tens of thousands attend the joint funeral of Naftali Frenkel (L), 16, Gilad Shaer (C), 16, and Eyal Ifrach (R), 19, in the central Israeli town of Modiin on July 1, 2014. The three had disappeared from a roadside in the southern West Bank on June 12, and on June 30 their bodies were found in a nearby field, with Israel blaming Hamas for their abduction and death and vowing to hunt down the killers. AFP PHOTO/GIL COHEN MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

We here at Stand for Israel can hardly believe that it has been five years since three Israeli teens — Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel — were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, the same summer that saw Israel pushed into conflict in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Now, five years later, The Jerusalem Post’s Anna Ahronheim reports on what has changed, including in the lives of the boys’ families, as one of their mothers admits, “It’s still not easy…but we choose life”:

On the night of June 12th 2014 Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach waited at a popular hitchhiking spot next to Kibbutz Alon Shvut south of Jerusalem hoping to catch a ride towards their respective homes.

When a Hyundai i35 stopped, they entered and shortly afterwards realized that the driver and passenger were not Israeli. Gil-ad Shaar was able to make a call to the police at 10:25pm, whispering “we’ve been kidnapped” before being cut off after what later turned out to be gunshots were heard.

Their bodies were discovered 18 days later on June 30th in a shallow grave in a field in the Palestinian village of Halhul near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Following the kidnapping the IDF conducted Operation Brother’s Keeper to arrest Hamas leaders in the West Bank, with the Gaza-based terror group increasingly launching rockets into Israel. Israel’s military responded by launching airstrikes and sending troops into the coastal enclave.

The kidnapping was the turning point which led to Operation Protective Edge, the Israel-Gaza conflict of summer 2014. The war, during which terror groups surprised Israel by using cross-border attack tunnels, lasted seven weeks and left 67 IDF soldiers dead, the bodies of two are still in the hands of Hamas…

For Bat-Galim Shaar the security forces in the area are doing all they can to prevent similar terror attacks which took the life of her son Gil-ad.

“The security forces and IDF are doing the best job that they can do,” she told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “The commanders and police and security forces, try to do their best, I really trust that they do the maximum. It’s not easy in our area and reality. I’m sure that they learned the lessons [from the 2014 attack], and today there is a direct line of communication between the idf and police, not like it was before.”

“We embrace to troops who are in the area and we really appreciate what they do for us,” she said, but “unfortunately terror attacks is not connected to where you live. There are attacks in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Pennsylvania… all around the world and we have to think together about how to deal with this issue…”

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