Tragedy: Bat-Galim Shaer

Tragedy: Bat-Galim Shaer

The mother of one of the three teenagers kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank last summer, sparking the 2014 Gaza war, has praised the unity among Israelis during the current renewed wave of terror, writes Talia Samuelson.

Bat-Galim Shaer, whose 16-year-old son Gilad was killed along with Naftali Frenkel, also 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, was speaking at ORT House on Tuesday as part of a tour of Jewish organisations and schools to promote the Jerusalem Unity Prize and Unity Day, initiatives co-founded with the parents of all three victims to help address deep-seated divisions in Israeli society.

She said: “Israeli Jews are in a different place to where they were a few years ago… they are more tolerant, more in tune with each other. The Jewish people have no alternative – our enemies remind us that we have to come together, or they will succeed in destroying us.”

Anat Schwartz Weil, director of the Jerusalem Unity Prize, cited examples of bravery and collective vigilance during this month’s knife attacks as evidence of increased solidarity among Israeli citizens.

She said: “The citizens are paying attention to what’s going on around them… if they see an attack, they often take care of it before the police.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had been due to join Shaer and Schwartz Weil on the tour, but had to cancel at the last minute owing to the ongoing situation in the city.