HUNDREDS FROM ATLANTA COMMUNITY GATHER IN SOLIDARITY FOR KIDNAPPED ISRAELI TEENS

SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

Congregation Beth Tefillah

On Wednesday evening, June 18, nearly 300 members of the Atlanta community gathered at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs for a mass unity and prayer service for the safe return of the three teenage Israeli boys who were kidnapped by Hamas on June 12.

Gilad Sha’er (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Naftali Frenkel (16), were returning home from their school in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank when they were abducted by Hamas terrorists.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Deputy Consul General of Israel Ron Brummer offered remarks at Wednesday’s event, organized by Chabad Israeli Center Atlanta. Said Deputy Consul General Brummer, “Israelis cannot and should not have to accept a reality where our children live under fear of such terror; where, as parents, we fear that our children may not return safely home after the school day.”

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Deputy Consul General of Israel Ron Brummer

Mayor Paul expressed his outrage at the terrorist activity, and received cheers of support from attendees upon stating that his office would officially call for the suspension of aid to the Palestinian Authority until the Israeli teenagers are returned home safely.

In his official letter, Mayor Paul stated, “Israel has taken many steps to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian Authority. The kidnapping of these young men makes it clear that Israel does not have a viable partner at the table for peace.” He continued, “U.S. law states that the United States cannot give foreign assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The Hamas, which is a predominant influence over the Palestinian Authority, is just that. I call upon our governing bodies to suspend aid until the three young Yeshiva students are safely returned to the appropriate Israeli authorities.”

Since the boys’ disappearance, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces have launched a wide spread and exhaustive search operation – Operation Brother’s Keeper, which has resulted in hundreds of arrests and the confiscation of weapons and explosives hidden in Palestinian stockpiles. Since the beginning of the operation, IDF forces have detained nearly 240 suspects, 51 of whom are Palestinians who were released in the Gilad Shalit exchange in 2011.

Soon after the verification of Hamas’ involvement, terrorist organizations praised the attack and urged Palestinians to hamper the IDF’s efforts to locate the boys. Palestinians have celebrated by handing out candy and using #Three_”GiladShalits” and “Hebron_Uprising” on social media to laud the incident. Additionally, senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials have called for the kidnapping of more Israelis, with the insidious intention of trading them for convicted terrorists.

To honor and support Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali, a campaign has been launched to tie three yellow ribbons around a tree. At a rally hosted by the Embassy of Israel in Washington last week, Representatives Ted Deutch and Eliot Engel, along with musician Tony Orlando and Ambassador Ron Dermer, tied ribbons around a tree at the Embassy. The goal continues to be increasing public awareness about the abduction of innocent Israeli boys by Hamas terrorists.

Editor’s note: For additional information, please contact Dena Weiss, Director of Public Affairs, Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, at (404) 487-6511 or at pr@atlanta.mfa.gov.il.

THOUSANDS GATHER AT THE WESTERN WALL TO PRAY FOR THEIR RELEASE

By Michelle Winer
STAFF WRITER

On June 15, thousands assembled at the Western Wall to pray for the safe return of the three Israeli teenagers who were abducted by Hamas on June 12. Three days later, three-hundred members of the Atlanta community, including Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Deputy Consul General of Israel Ron Brummer, gathered at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs for a prayer service.

Since the boys’ disappearance, individuals from all over the world have united to show their unwavering love and support for Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. People throughout the world continue to honor these brave young men by participating in the Yellow Ribbons for Our Boys movement, which encourages people to tie three yellow ribbons around a tree. Through large gatherings and world-wide campaigns, communities from all over the world continue to send their thoughts and prayers to the boys and their families.

Those wishing to pray for their speedy return and well-being may do so using their full Hebrew names: Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim and Eyal ben Iris Tshorah.