25,000 Pray for Kidnapped Teens at Western Wall

The families of three kidnapped teenagers speak with Israeli media, thanking security forces for their efforts.

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Praying for the kidnapped teens at Jerusalem's Western Wall.
Praying for the kidnapped teens at Jerusalem's Western Wall.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Some 25,000 people attended a mass prayer rally Sunday night for the three kidnapped teenagers – Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel – at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau told the crowd, “We’re proving to our enemies that the people of Israel lives on, and will never been broken. The whole of our people came here to the Kotel as one, with one heart, united in prayer for the safety of the kidnapped victims, who will be returned to the warmth of their families and people soon.”

About 250 people participated in a similar prayer rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, along with the city’s chief rabbi, Yisrael Meir Lau. “Over the last three days, we’ve felt that they are our children, our family,” said Lau. “Master of the universe, send the angel who said ‘Don’t raise your hand against the child, don’t do anything to him.’

“We don’t have many things in common in our divided society, but then along comes this horrible story, and our people unite as one,” Lau added. “Sometimes we are forced to wait for trauma to feel unity. Bring them home. Heaven forbid we wait as we did for Gilad [Shalit].”

The families of the kidnapped teenagers spoke with the media last night. Rahel and Avi Fraenkel spoke with journalists waiting outside their home in Nof Ayalon Sunday afternoon, and thanked the security forces for their involvement in the investigation. “We’re surrounded by the warmth of our family,” said Rahel Fraenkel. “They’re taking care of us and watching over us and our children, and we are in constant contact with the army, the police, the Shin Bet [security service], and the government,” she added, stating also that her family is receiving constant updates.

“We’re optimistic,” said Fraenkel to Channel 2 News, “God will see this combined effort, and the solidarity and prayer, and we will embrace our children. I hope you will celebrate with us here.

“We know and feel that they are turning the world upside down to bring them home. It’s incredibly important for us to thank everyone. We are grateful to every soldier in the field and all the Shin Bet, Knesset members, parents of the soldiers in the field, and the members of the media bringing our story to the world,” continued Rahel.

Rahel then addressed her son directly: “Naftali, your mother and father love you infinitely, and the people of Israel are turning the world upside down to bring you home.”

Gilad Shaar’s mother said last night on Channel 2, “We are passing all of your positive energies onto our Gilad. Gilad is strong, and I’m sure that Naftali and Eyal are strong too. I want to ask the people of Israel: Keep praying and staying united. Keep giving strength to our children. With God’s help, with this togetherness, we will succeed.

“From the prime minister on down to the last soldier, everyone is doing everything they can to bring our boys home. I want to shake the hand of every one of them, and say thank you.”

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, head of the Mekor Chaim yeshiva where Fraenkel and Shaar study, sent a letter to his community and asked them to pray for the young men. “Kidnapping our students is a horrifying, painful event,” wrote Steinsaltz, an Israel Prize winner. “What we can do, as is Israel’s way for generations, is to increase in our holiness, keep studying Torah, and if possible ... everyone should add something small to their prayers for their safety and peace.”

Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach.
25,000 pray for abducted teens.
Praying for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.
Praying for the fate of the three Israeli teens at the Western Wall.
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25,000 pray for abducted teens.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
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Praying for Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
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Praying for the fate of the three Israeli teens at the Western Wall.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Thousands pray for kidnapped Israeli teens

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