Mother of Kidnapped Israeli Teen to UN Human Rights Council: ‘My Son Texted Me — Said He’s on His Way Home — And Then He’s Gone’ (VIDEO)
Rachel Frankel, the mother of 16-year-old Israeli-American kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, who was one of three yeshiva students abducted by Hamas nearly two weeks ago, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, on Tuesday to appeal for international support to return the children.
Frankel, along with Iris Yifrach and Bat-Galim Shaar, mothers of the two other teenagers, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, was invited to make the speech by Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch and meet UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri.
UN Watch said: “All three mothers flew from Israel to Geneva to urge the 47-nation Council and the international community to do everything it can to help find the boys and bring them home safely. So far, the Council has been silent on the plight of the abducted teens.”
Frankel told the diplomats: “My son texted me — said he’s on his way home — and then he’s gone. Every mother’s nightmare is waiting and waiting endlessly for her child to come home.”
She thanked the UN Secretary-General “for condemning the abduction of our boys, expressing his solidarity with the families, and calling for their immediate release.”
She also thanked the International Red Cross “for stating clearly that international humanitarian law prohibits the taking of hostages, and for demanding the immediate and unconditional release of our boys.”
“At the same time, I believe much more can be done — and should be done — by so many,” Frankel said. “That is why we three mothers have come here today — before the United Nations, and before the world — to ask everyone, to do whatever they can, to bring back our boys.
“Mr. President, it is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel. This council is charged with protecting human rights. I wish to ask: Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school? We just want them back in our homes, in their beds. We just want to hug them again.”
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said, “UN Watch condemns the kidnapping of the three boys, which the ICRC rightly described as a war crime, and calls for their immediate, unconditional and safe return.”
“This heinous act violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits targeting civilians and the taking of hostages,” Neuer said. “We are are in awe of Mrs. Frankel’s strength of spirit, and are grateful for the opportunity to offer her an international platform, together with the other two mothers, to appeal for the safe release of her son and the other two boys. We hope the international community will collectively heed her call.”
Frankel’s brother-in-law, Yishai Frankel, General Manager of Intel’s Jerusalem R&D Center, said at the weekend that security forces have told the family that the kidnapped boys were still alive.
Her sister, Leehy Shaer, on Tuesday will join U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Committee Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel, and Representative Karen Bass at a press conference in Washington to call for the release of the three teens.
Watch Rachel Frankel address the UN Human Rights Council: