Jews Around the World Mobilize in Support of Kidnapped Boys

Six days after three Israeli teens went missing, people around the globe are organizing to express their support for the abductees.

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Haaretz
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A vigil outside Eyal Yifrach's Elad home.
A vigil outside Eyal Yifrach's Elad home.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
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Haaretz

The kidnapping of teenagers Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah six days ago has prompted a wave of events, activism and social media campaigns in solidarity across the globe. Here's a roundup:

At the World Cup on Tuesday: Over a dozen Brazilian Jews gathered with signs reading "Bring Back Our Boys Now" and "3 Israeli Boys Kidnapped by Terrorists" to remind sports fans of the plight of the kidnapping victims in Israel. Participants sang Israel's national anthem, the Hatikvah, and held Brazilian and Israeli flags.

A run to remember: On Thursday night One Family - an Israeli non-profit organization that provides social and rehabilitative support to victims of terrorism - will stage a 77-kilometer Ultra Marathon run in support of "Brother's Keeper," the IDF operation to secure the abductees. The event, which will include stops to visit the boys' families, will take runners from Talmon to the Kotel, Nof Ayalon, and Elad. The group's international team of runners hopes to use the event to fundraise on behalf of terror victims. The group is also running an online campaign to collect letters of solidarity and encouragement for the boys' families.

A virtual vigil: NCSY, a U.S.-based youth organization for Orthodox teenagers, is bringing Jews across the world together for what they hope will be a non-stop online vigil of prayer and study. Their aim is to ensure that every half hour, a Jew somewhere in the world will dedicate thirty minutes of spiritual reflection and practice to the liberation of the captive boys. Aspiring participants fill out a short form on the NCSY website and then select a shift for their share of the support effort.

A high-profile campaign: Social media efforts to gain Michelle Obama's support for returning the kidnapped boys gained new momentum Wednesday as MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) posted a video on her Facebook page calling for the U.S. First Lady to join the cause. "I'm talking to you mother to mother and woman to woman," Lavie implored. "Please help us to bring the boys back home to Israel." Activists have set their sights on Obama's endorsement because the First Lady posted a Tweet last month expressing her support for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to free kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Serving those who serve: The kidnapping prompted the IDF to deploy additional soldiers, including some reservists, to the West Bank on short notice. To ensure that these soldiers have enough food and supplies, the "Help the Soldiers Help Our Missing Boys" campaign is raising funds from donations. With help from the Jerusalem Municipality, the organizers of the campaign also set up a food collection drive on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

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