Israelis rally in support of missing teens
Tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Tel Aviv to call for the release of three Israeli teenagers who disappeared in the West Bank.
Religious and secular Israelis who disagree on many points showed a rare solidarity at the rally billed as an apolitical gathering in support of the three and their families.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gil-Ad Shaer, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, disappeared June 12 while hitching home from the West Bank school they attend.
Israel believes they were abducted by Palestinian members of Hamas. The manhunt for the boys and their suspected kidnappers is ongoing.
Despite disagreements among Israelis about West Bank settlements, a diverse crowd packed the wide plaza named for former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated at the site in 1995 by a Jewish extremist. Secular pop stars as well as a religious boys choir performed.
Speakers included President-elect Reuven Rivlin, who will take office in one month, and representatives of youth movements of all political shades. The mothers of the three boys also spoke.
One of the mothers, Rachel Fraenkel, extended their appreciation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the mayor of the Palestinian city of Hebron, who “transcended the conflict” and called for the boys’ immediate release.
Sobelman is a special correspondent.
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