NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC-NY) of New York, community and religious leaders and elected officials today joined in solidarity and prayer with Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, the people of Israel and the families of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped near Gush Etzion last Thursday.
The teenagers – Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach – are believed to have been abducted in a deliberate act of terrorism.
At the press conference, Stringer, JCRC, elected officials and community leaders called for unity and condemned the heinous terrorist act.
“These three teens were walking home from school, as so many of our children do every day, when they were taken in a despicable act of cowardice. As a father of two young boys of my own, I can’t imagine the heartbreak these families are going through right now,” said Comptroller Stringer. “This kidnapping is an outrageous affront to the diplomatic and peacekeeping efforts in the region. New Yorkers stand with the people of Israel, and leaders around the world, in condemning this act and praying for Gilad, Naftali and Eyal’s safe return.”
“We stand together with our local and national leaders, as well as those around the world, who have unequivocally condemned this heinous act,” said Michael S. Miller, Executive Vice President and CEO of the JCRC-NY. “We call on those who have yet to do so to add their voices in condemning the abduction. Those who are responsible for this brutal act of terrorism must be found and brought to justice.”
The boys were last seen Thursday night while returning home from school at Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in Gush Etzion. Israeli military forces have intensified their search for the three missing teenagers over the last few days.
One of the three teenagers – Naftali Frenkel – is a dual Israeli-American citizen and has family in both Brooklyn and upstate New York.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned the kidnapping and called for the immediate release of the boys. The U.S. government continues to gather details about the abduction.
“As we stand here today, there are three families and an entire nation whose sons have been kidnapped. All of Israel’s resources are committed to bringing Naftali, Gilad and Eyal back home. I know that the outpouring of support from our friends here in New York, the United States and around the world are being heard and felt throughout Israel, and on behalf of all Israelis, we thank you for your unwavering display of solidarity, your thoughts and your prayers. Together, we pray for a swift and safe return home for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal,”said Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York.
“My prayers are with the three young men kidnapped in Israel, including Naftali Frenkel, who is an American citizen; as a parent, I can’t begin to imagine what their families are going through. It is essential that the Palestinian government first, denounce this horrible act, and second demand from Hamas that the boys be immediately released. We will continue keep the heat on our government, and do all we can to bring pressure to bear on the Palestinian Authority until we get a positive resolution of this situation,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“These kidnappings are deeply disturbing and troubling, my thoughts and prayers are with these teenagers and their families. I hope that the Palestinian Authority will do everything within its power to help bring these young men home safely. If reports are true that Hamas is responsible, it is further evidence of why the PLO reconciliation agreement with Hamas, a known terrorist organization which refuses to recognize Israel and is committed to her destruction, shoves away the hand of peace rather than grasping it. At best, it is reprehensible that Hamas has already publicly praised these kidnappings,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the three kidnapped Israeli teens, including a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, and their families. Their captors must release them immediately. All of those who are responsible for this heinous act must be brought to justice,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
“I strongly condemn the kidnapping of the three innocent Israeli teenagers who were on their way home. I stand with Comptroller Stringer and my Jewish friends together with the global community in condemning such heinous acts of terrorism by Hamas. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the teens as I sincerely hope that the authorities can work swiftly together to ensure their safe return home. As a longtime friend of Israel, I remain committed to supporting efforts in Congress that are conducive to fostering peace and stability in the region,” said Congressman Charles Rangel.
“The kidnapping of three yeshiva students in the West Bank is a deeply troubling act of aggression designed to undermine the steps that Israel has taken in pursuit of peace. It will not work. Congress will continue to stand firmly behind the State of Israel, our close friend, and those responsible for this heinous act will be brought to justice,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“My heart goes out to the families of the three young Jewish boys kidnapped in the West Bank last week and I pray for their immediate release and safe return to their homes…especially 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, a U.S. citizen with broad family ties right here in New York. I hope that all of my colleagues will join me in offering the Israeli government our strong support in the rescue effort for these young men and reiterate our firm commitment to their right to defend their people from this kind of condemnable terrorism and intimidation,” said Congressman Michael Grimm.
“I want to express my unwavering support for the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel, brave young men who are the victims of an unconscionable crime. Along with so many of my fellow New Yorkers, I condemn this despicable kidnapping and I pledge my full solidarity with the people of Israel. As we await word of their fate, I offer my fervent prayers for their safe return, as soon as possible. We must do everything we can to bring our boys home,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“I condemn this abduction in the strongest terms. New York stands in solidarity with Gilad, Naftali and Eyal and supports all efforts to bring the boys back to their families speedily and safely,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
“Last week’s abduction of the three Israeli students needs to be condemned by all that are watching. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those teenagers. The young men must be released immediately so they can return to their loved ones. Let us hope and pray that they get home safely, and quickly. Each day they spend in captivity is one day too many,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
“Brooklyn joins the global call praying for the safe return of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. Our global community must not tolerate the disgusting and cowardly abduction of children, be in Israel, Nigeria or anywhere else, to be used as political pawns or hostages. It is the responsibility of every nation that supports basic human rights, including our own, to assist however we can with ensuring these teenagers’ safe return home. #Bringbackourboys,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“May the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers soon come home safely. My thoughts and prayers are with their families,” said State Senator Jose Peralta.
“My heart goes out to the families of the three Israeli teenagers abducted last Thursday in the West Bank. The kidnapping of these innocent young people is a moral and political outrage. I’m extremely grateful to the JCRC and Comptroller Stringer for organizing this call for action among New Yorkers demanding their immediate and safe return,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.
“The crime against these young men is a crime against all of us. As a city we must all stand together and speak with one voice in condemnation of this horrendous act and demand their safe return. My sincere thanks to Comptroller Scott Stringer and the JCRC for their swift action on this matter,” said State Senator Jose M. Serrano.
“The kidnapping of three Israeli teens is the latest in a long line of criminal acts against innocent Israeli civilians. Securing their immediate and safe release will be a true test of the sincerity of President Abbas’ claim that he wants peace. I urge the Israeli and U.S. Governments to do everything in their power to make sure these three innocent boys come home safely and quickly and call on the leaders of countries around the world to demand their release as well,” said Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz.
“I stand with my constituents and communities world-wide in support of Israel’s actions to pursue the release of these three innocent young men. And to the families of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, who are experiencing that which we all fear most, I send comfort and my hope that your sadness is only matched soon by the relief of seeing your children free and safe in your arms,” said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein.
“The recent abduction of three Israeli teenagers, including one US Citizen, by Palestinian terrorist organizations demonstrates the urgent need for leaders in the Jewish community in both the United States and abroad to affirm their commitment and dedication to the State of Israel. The behavior of their captors is both morally unacceptable and a crime against unprovoked youths perpetrated for no other reason besides a hatred of the people of Israel. Israel’s soldiers cannot accept any interference with their mission to rescue these people on the part of the Palestinian Authority, whose pact with Hamas is reflected in this disgusting incident and other violent threats against Israel. If Mahmoud Abbas is truly interested in peace with Israel, he cannot make common cause with any organization which would harm children simply to secure the release of a particular number of prisoners. In this troubling time, we must stand firmly with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu to ensure that as many sides as possible are involved in the search for these children and justice can be effectively brought to the perpetrators of this action,” said Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny.
“I join with the JCRC of NY in demanding the safe return of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on Thursday. The international community must stand together to condemn these acts of terrorism,” said Assemblymember Edward C. Braunstein.
“In the strongest terms, I condemn the kidnapping of these teenagers, and I join all Americans in demanding these nefarious individuals to release these innocent young people to their families safely,” said Assemblymember Victor Pichardo.
“The terrorist acts against these innocent teenage children must be condemned in the strongest terms. Government leaders from all countries must speak out against such deeds and all must demand immediate and strong affirmative actions by President Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Palestinian Security forces to cooperate in finding those responsible and obtaining the immediate unconditional release of these children. As we keep these teens and their families in our prayers and remain in open solidarity with them, we must continue to expose and condemn those terrorist forces and those who provide cover and encouragement to their heinous deeds,” said Assemblymember Bill Colton.
“I stand firmly with fellow leaders in condemning this disturbing act of terrorism and violence against innocent teenagers. The abduction of youths as a means of leveraging policy goals is an affront to the peace process and threatens not only these young lives but the safety and security of the State of Israel. I join the international community in calling for their immediate and unconditional release and for those responsible to be brought to justice,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.
“I join the rest of our city and nation in praying for the safe and immediate return of these three teenagers. This horrific act is evidence that terrorism continues to rear its ugly head and shows no limits. The decision to target three youths who were just going about their lives shows a clear lack of humanity or boundaries. We cannot stand by as these teenagers fall victim to a terrorist organization that must be reined in and held accountable. I am calling on the United States government to provide any assistance needed to ensure the safe return of these innocent teenagers to their families,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.
“New Yorkers are sickened by the kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. The seizure of teenagers for political purposes is a depraved act that should be denounced in the strongest terms by decent people everywhere. We stand united with the people of Israel–and the families of the missing boys–during this trying time,” said Council Member Mark Levine.
“As a parent, I can only imagine the grief these families are feeling. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick.
“The depravity animating the Palestinian national movement knows no bounds, as we have long seen — it doesn’t matter if the teenagers are hitchhiking, dancing, shopping or riding the bus, as long as they are Jewish they are targets for kidnapping and murder. Living in the safety and security of the United States, I cannot understand the terror which Israeli families live with on a daily basis, but I offer my heartfelt solidarity with Gilad’s, Eyal’s and Naftali’s parents and the people of Israel and pray for their safe return,” said Council Member Rory Lancman.
“In recent weeks, our children have increasing become victims of violence. As a city and as a nation, we must work collaboratively to ensure the safety of our youth against all threats. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah. On behalf of the 35th Councilmanic District, it is my hope and prayer that these young men are returned safely,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
“I stand with my colleagues in condemning the kidnapping of the three Israeli yeshiva students and I call for their immediate release. New York City is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel and one of the three abducted teenagers is a dual Israeli-American citizen. The thoughts and prayers of all New Yorkers are with the families of the three boys as we continue to extend our full support to Israel in its search for the missing teens. May they all be brought home safely and swiftly,” said Deputy Leader Council Member Vincent Gentile.
“We stand strong behind the people of Israel and the families of the three kidnapped teenagers; we call for their immediate return to safety,” said Council Member Mark Weprin.
“We in New York City stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and the world in demanding the safe return of Eyal Yifrcah, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel. Our global community can and must be a safe one for girls and boys from every corner of the planet, including right here in New York City. Bring back our girls and our boys,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice Chair of the City Council Jewish Caucus.