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June 19, 2014 11:12 am

Israel’s Peres Tells Families of Kidnapped Teens: ‘The Whole Nation Is United and Standing by Your Side’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli President Shimon Peres. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday at his official residence in Jerusalem met with the families of the three kidnapped yeshiva students, missing now for a week.

Peres embraced the families of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, and said, “I asked to meet you because this is a national event, the whole nation is united and standing by your side and praying with you for the safe return of your boys.”

“The security forces are working day and night in every street and alley of Hebron and leaving no stone unturned in the effort to find your boys,” Peres said. “The security forces will do everything to bring the boys home.”

He said the kidnappings were an example of how “terror is a global problem.”

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“The leaders of the world must make their voices heard loud and clear, they must take a strong stance against terror. Terror is a global problem, not just an Israeli one – we must recruit the world,” Peres said.

He told the families that he will raise the same issue on his visit next week to the U.S., where he will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in his final state visit after 65 years in public service.

He said, “The world is not yet recruited; during my conversations with President Obama and the leaders of the U.S. Congress I will raise the cry of the people of Israel against terrorism, both in private and in public. We must continue to pressure the terrorists, to remove their sources of funding. Just as there were sanctions against Iran we must raise the sanctions against any source of terror. They must be brought to justice. And we must call out, so that the children in countries which foster terrorism know that it is a disaster for them as well.”

Ofir Shaar, the father of Gilad, said, “We thank you, Mr. President, for your involvement on behalf of our sons, Gilad, Naftali and Eyal. Your invitation to us is another example of the genuine support we have felt over the past days from all directions, with no distinction between religion, politics or sector.”

Shaar said, “Your words strengthen us as we stand strong and united in this difficult time that our families find themselves in. The people of Israel are with us. The Jews of the world are with us. We expect the whole world to act to free our boys.”

“We ask of you all to do more and to your positive thoughts, to increase your prayers alongside the actions of the security services who are working night and day to bring back Naftali, Eyal and Gilad home safely as soon as possible,” the boy’s father said.

During the meeting, which lasted for more than 90 minutes, the parents told Peres about their children, about their hobbies, about the source of their names and about their friends and family. Eyal’s parents told Peres that not long ago their son had visited the President’s Residence with his pre-military study program. Gilad’s parents told President Peres that their son loves his friends and five sisters. Naftali’s parents spoke about his excellence as a student and his love for playing the guitar.

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