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On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were abducted while hitchhiking to their homes from the Israeli town of Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, located in Judea, just south of Jerusalem. The missing teens, Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaer (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), quickly became a rallying point for the nation as Israelis mobilized to find them. Israel’s army as well as thousands of ordinary civilians launched a massive search for the boys.
The nation came together in extraordinary unity and solidarity. Tragically, the entire country was left in mourning when the bodies of the three boys were found hidden in a field. Arab terrorists had brutally and mercilessly executed the boys.
Though we could not save “our boys,” the heartlessness of our enemies brought our nation together. We owe it to Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, may their blood be avenged, to overcome our political differences and form genuine connections that last longer than the few torturous weeks we spent looking for them. Through this terrible ordeal, we learned that we are stronger together and must continue to stand united in the face of adversity.
As Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, approaches, we remember not only Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali and the countless other victims our country has lost. Their tragic loss must remind us all to overcome our differences, work together to defeat evil, and bring peace to Israel and the entire world.