The Account of Gilad Shaar (16), Eyal Yifrach (19), Naftali Frenkel (16), and Givat Oz v’Gaon
Late in the afternoon, Thursday, 12 June 2014, three teenaged Israeli boys were hitchhiking home from near Gush Etzion Junction, near Efrat, halfway between Hevron and Jerudalem, when they were kidnapped.
One of them was able to alert police via his cell phone straight after the kidnapping, which set in motion a massive search by military and civilian forces.
As Col. Amit Yamin, brigade commander of the sector, voiced it later, “For two weeks we got into every possible place with very great efforts of the division and the IDF. All of the best minds and the abilities and people that the State of Israel could devote to it were here. We did not deal only with searching for the youths, which was the main task, but also with beating back terror and Hamas. This was very important to us, not only to solve the terror attack but also to punish Hamas as the responsible party for this terrible attack.”
About the value of unity, Yamin said that the days of the searches were “a wonderful period, from this point of view. The entire People were with the army and everyone volunteered; people hosted entire brigades. The council volunteered and citizens hosted people and provided food”, he said, and added another layer to the value of unity, the unity that was displayed by the families of the youths: “It would have been possible from the first moment to fall into criticism and accusations – when did we become aware and when did we begin to search, and did we behave correctly. It would have been possible to attack us, but the nobility of the parents was not to fall into this line of divisiveness, and also when they met with the commanders and the soldiers they were concerned about when the commanders and the soldiers had last been at home, when they had rested and what they ate. The soldiers were in shock. They did not think at all about going home, about eating and sleeping.”
On Monday evening, 30 June, IDF troops searching for them, found the bodies near the village of Halhul, which is just north of Hebron and south of Karmei Tzur. Their bodies were found in shallow graves in a field, apparently murdered soon after they were kidnapped. The bodies were found by a volunteer attached to an army unit searching the area. The volunteers were part of the Kfar Etzion Field School, and experts in the topography of the region.
As the New York Times wrote, “Israel’s intense 18-day search for three abducted teenagers ended Monday when their bodies were found buried under a pile of rocks in an open field about 15 miles from where the youths were last seen in the occupied West Bank. A nation that had been enmeshed in hopeful prayer was instantly engulfed by a mix of grief and anger and vowed retaliation against the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which Israel says was behind the killings.”
Story of kidnapped boys
Story of occupation of givat
Summary of efforts
Yad HaShem in givat