Teen's mom condemns revenge killings; Peres turned away
JERUSALEM — Rachel Frenkel denounced the revenge killing of a Palestinian teen and offered condolences to the family.
Frenkel made a public statement Monday outside her home in Nof Ayalon at the end of the shivah period for her son Naftali, one of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and killed last month.
“Even in the abyss of mourning for Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, it is difficult for me to describe how distressed we are by the outrage committed in Jerusalem – the shedding of innocent blood is against morality, is against the Torah and Judaism, and is against the foundation of the lives of our boys and of all of us in this country,” Frenkel said.
Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was murdered in the hours after the funeral of Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, apparently in retaliation for the murders. Israeli police have apprehended six suspects in the Palestinian teen’s slaying; three reportedly have confessed.
The Israeli teens were kidnapped June 12 and killed shortly afterward; Israel has accused Hamas terrorists of the slayings. Their bodies were discovered 18 days later in a shallow grave in a field near Hebron.
“Only the murderers of our sons, along with those who sent them and those who helped them and incited them to murder — and not innocent people — will be brought to justice: by the army, the police, and the judiciary; not by vigilantes. No mother or father should ever have to go through what we are going through, and we share the pain of Muhammad’s parents,” Frenkel said.
Fraenkel said the legacy of the three Israeli teens “is one of love, of humanity, of national unity, and of integrity. Alongside the pain of this terrible act, we take pride in our country’s zeal to investigate, to arrest the criminals and to stop the horror, and we hope that calm will return to the streets of our country.”
Earlier in the day, in a conversation with the grandfather of Gilad Shaar, Khdeir's father said there was no evidence of who killed the Israelis and that it could be Jews.
Khdeir's family also rejected a condolence visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Peres’ security detail was turned away Monday when it came to prepare for the visit.
Other visits reportedly have been cancelled by police and the Shin Bet security service due to security concerns, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.
The family also rejected the condolence statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to an unnamed family member who told Maan that that “we refuse to accept the condolences of someone who agrees on the murder of our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.”
A visit by a delegation of rabbis led by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau was cancelled, though it was unclear if it was because the family refused to receive the delegation or out of security concerns .
The rabbis condemned the murder of the Palestinian teen in statements on Monday.
“We as religious leaders need to lead with a conciliatory message to prevent continued pain and bereavement so that no one else is harmed,” Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said.
Some Israeli government officials have come to the family’s home in eastern Jerusalem to offer their condolences, including Shelly Yachimovich, Amir Peretz and Avraham Burg of the Labor party.
The anti-racism organization Tag Meir was scheduled on Tuesday to bring more than 600 Israelis by chartered buses for a visit Tuesday to the family’s mourning tent that the organization said was coordinated with the family.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday met with Tariq Abu Khdeir, the cousin of the murdered teen who was beaten by Israeli security forces during a riot on the day of the funeral. The teen’s family said he was the masked youth being beaten unconscious by Israeli soldiers in a video that is circulating on the Internet. The teen said he was not participating in the riot.