Mourning is a common sight in Israel. The nation is constantly plagued by religious conflict. An ever going battle between Israel and Palestine has engulfed its people in a holy war. From the early morning to the evening, thousands of people came out to attend the funeral of the three murdered Israeli teenagers. Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach were mourned during a joint funeral proceeding in honor of their lives. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu firmly believes a militant formation of Palestine called Hamas is responsible for killing the teenage boys.
The bodies of the three teenagers were found Monday, after the trio was missing for over two weeks. Prior to their murders the boys were seen near a popular hitch hiking location. Reports confirmed the remains of the boys were discovered lying underneath rocks. However, sources believe the slain teens were shot following their abduction. A large search was conducted across the Middle Eastern West Bank and Palestinian cities for the missing teenagers. The victims were found deceased in the Palestinian town of Halhul. Upon hearing the news Israeli troops occupied the city vowing for retaliation.
PM Netanyahu spoke out freely against the slayings of the three young men. He referred to the victims’ killers as “heinous murderers.” Netanyahu was urged not to address his response agenda at the funeral, by the families of the teens. However, Israeli Prime Minister spoke boldly and delivered promises of retribution.
The funeral took place outside the city of Mantei. The streets of the small village were flooded with mourners who listened to speakers and prayed in unison. Around 50,000 people huddled around the crowded cemetery to pay their respects for the three teenagers. Yifrach was the eldest of the boys at 19 years of age, while Shaar and Fraenkel were both only 16 years old. Fraenkel’s mother, Rachel expressed her sentiment towards her son. “Rest in peace my child,” said the grief-stricken mother. The victim’s mother wanted to assure her son that in time the family would be able to sing and live without him, but he will remain forever in their thoughts.
An irate Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the killings. The Palestinian militant group has denied all allegations and involvement in the tragic incident. However, Netanyahu apparently does not believe Hamas and was hail-bent on firing back with an immediate military response. Netanyahu is certain the boys were killed by Hamas and made good on his promise. Israeli military catapulted 34 air strikes into the Gaza Strip Tuesday. The targets of the strike on the occupied Gaza Strip were affiliated with Hamas. However, the Israeli attack was also a response to a total of 18 rockets launched at Israel after Sunday evening. The funeral of the three murdered teens is but one of the most recent occasions upon which Israelis have had to mourn the loss of innocent life in the ongoing conflict.
A large public funeral service is customary in Israel, following events of terrorism. While there is still outrage on both sides, not all Palestinian leadership is in support of the murders. Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas expressed regret and called an urgent meeting. The three murdered teens went missing on June 12, finally being mourned at their joint funeral after an Israeli search for 19 days revealed their fates. Unfortunately the state of conflict, terror, and fear between Israelis and Palestinians is very much alive and well.
By Brandon Wright