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Israel’s Security Cabinet: ‘Wide-ranging’ Search for Boys Will Continue

June 26, 2014 By:
JTA
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IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (left) visits Israeli soldiers as they take part in an operation to locate the three missing Israeli teens near the West Bank city of Hebron on June 24, 2014.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s security Cabinet said the military will continue “wide-ranging operations in the field” to locate three kidnapped Israeli teens.

The security Cabinet made the announcement after meeting on June 25,  according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

A day earlier, the Israeli army said that in its search for the boys, it was scaling back its operations against Hamas and incursions into Palestinian areas of the West Bank at the urging of the full Cabinet.

Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were abducted while returning home from high school and a pre-army academy from a junction in Gush Etzion, located south of Jerusalem.

The security Cabinet also said it would investigate banning the transfer of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Palestinian prisoners convicted of being involved in terrorist attacks.

The Palestinian Authority pays monthly stipends and large release grants to jailed Palestinian terrorists, totaling up to tens of thousands of dollars. It is believed that some foreign aid is used by the Palestinians to meet payments for imprisoned and released terrorists.

Also Wednesday, Shaar’s mother, Bat-Galim, told reporters that a deal agreed to late Tuesday to end hunger striking by Palestinian prisoners is “a serious mistake” and that Palestinian prisoners should be pressured, not appeased.

“It’s unthinkable that our boys haven’t returned and you are seeking to reach understandings with Palestinian prisoners charged with terrorism,” Shaar said during a visit to the Knesset.

From the United States, President Obama expressed “deep concern” about the missing Israeli teenagers during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and American Jewish leaders.

“They expressed their deep concern and reiterated our support for efforts to find the teens,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said of her boss, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Obama after the White House meeting.

In addition to Peres and Rice, also attending the meeting were the ambassadors of both countries and Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser.

In New York an advertisement calling for the return of three kidnapped Israeli teens is running on a digital billboard in Times Square.

“On June 12th, 2014, three teenage boys were kidnapped in Israel, one of them an American citizen,” reads the 40-foot-by-40-foot ad purchased by the Young Israel of the West Side, an Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan. “These boys are not soldiers. They are not fighters. They are not violent. These boys are our sons. Our brothers. Our grandchildren. Our nephews. Our friends. Please help create global awareness.”

The ad airs for 15 seconds twice every hour, which usually costs $15,000, the New York Post reported. The synagogue was mum on the cost of its ad, which appeared for the first time on Tuesday.

The ad displays photos of the abducted teens — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach — and the hashtag #bringbackourboys.

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