Israelis across the country have gathered in protest in the wake of the vicious murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. The bodies of the three kidnapped teens by Hamas terrorists were discovered half buried in a pit in a field near Hebron on Monday.
The three youth were buried Tuesday afternoon side by side in Modiin. The funerals were attended by thousands of people who came to pay their last respects to the three boys who united a nation. Top governmental officials joined the grieving families in saying goodbye to the “sons of the whole nation,” as outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres stated.
On Tuesday, in Tel Aviv, hundreds of demonstrators assembled as the Security Cabinet met to discuss a military response to the murders of the three boys.
A mix of secular and religious Israelis from Tel Aviv and Judea and Samaria, protesters argued that Israel’s deterrence against Hamas had withered and it was time for the Jewish state to take a stand.
David Ben-Zion, head of the Shomron’s strategic unit, addressed protesters. “Hamas needs to understand that the game is over. We expect the Cabinet to listen to the wishes of the people. We are strong and back the government in a military move that will smash Hamas and restore deterrence,” he said.
Around 400 protesters gathered at the entrance of Jerusalem, blocking traffic near the David’s Harp Bridge close to the Central Bus Station.
Protesters shouted nationalist slogans and handed out stickers and flyers reading “Government of Israel: enough talking, we demand revenge!” Many in the crowd voiced their approval for a death penalty for terrorist murderers.
Earlier in the day, MK Ze’ev Elkin, head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, called for the death penalty for the terrorist murderers of the three youth.
Violence broke out when Arab’s began to taunt the crowd and the deaths of the three youth. Angry demonstrators attacked the Arab passerby’s which led to later conflict between Israeli police and Arab extremists at the Machneh Yehudah Market.
Clashes between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs continued Wednesday as reports surfaced of the death of a Palestinian teen. Israeli police said they were investigating a claim that 16-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, from East Jerusalem, was killed in a revenge attack. Police have no evidence at this time that Abu Khdeir death is related to the murders of the three teens.
“We have not yet been able to determine if the motive [for the killing] was nationalistic or criminal,” Yossi Parienti, Jerusalem’s police chief stated.
Parienti urged the public to “exercise restraint, refrain from reaching conclusions and wait for new developments in the investigation.”
Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat vigorously condemned the murder of the teen.
“This is a horrible and barbaric act which I strongly condemn. This is not our way and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice. I call on everyone to exercise restraint,” Barkat stated.
Yishai Fraenkel, uncle of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Frenkel, referred to the claims that Abu Khdeir was killed in revenge “heinous and shocking.”
“There is no difference between blood and blood,” Fraenkel made clear. “A murderer is a murderer, no matter his nationality and age. There is no justification, no forgiveness and no atonement for any murder.”
“If an Arab youth was indeed murdered for nationalistic reasons, this is a heinous and shocking act,” he said.
Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich urged both the Jewish and Arab public to be patient and exercise restraint as police work hard to investigate Abu Khdeir’s death.
“We know a youth who was probably kidnapped, and are checking if that is related to the body that was found,” he said. “It is under investigation, testing, labs.”
With the news of the Arab teens death came an eruption of violence by Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem. Fire-bombs and improvised explosives were thrown at police near Shuafat. Mobs hurled rocks and other object at police stationed in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.
Police closed the Temple Mount on Wednesday for fear of increased clashes between Muslim worshippers and police. The decision to close the Mount was made after masked Palestinian rioters began to throw stones at police.