Israel’s gut-wrenching farewell to its murdered sons
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Israel’s gut-wrenching farewell to its murdered sons

Photo by Haim Zach/GPO/Israel Sun 01-07-2014
PLEASE CREDIT Haim Zach/GPO ONLY

Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach were to be laid to rest side by side in Modi'in cemetery on Tuesday evening, a day after the bodies of the three teens were found in the West Bank and 19 days after they vanished while hitchihiking near Hebron.
President Shimon Peres spoke at the funeral saying, "To all those who wish to vanquish us, I want to say that terror is a boomerang. It's targeted against us but hits its instigators. We bow our heads but won't lose our soul. I know that security forces will catch the murderers and they will be brought to justice." 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of the three Israeli teens saying, "We were charmed by the magic of their smile, their kindness, their joy of youth. Today became a day of national mourning."

ðùéà äîãéðä ùîòåï ôøñ áäìååéú ùìåùú äçèåôéí ááéú äòìîéï áîåãéòéï
öéìåí çééí öç / ìò"î
Photo by Haim Zach/GPO/Israel Sun 01-07-2014 PLEASE CREDIT Haim Zach/GPO ONLY Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach were to be laid to rest side by side in Modi'in cemetery on Tuesday evening, a day after the bodies of the three teens were found in the West Bank and 19 days after they vanished while hitchihiking near Hebron. President Shimon Peres spoke at the funeral saying, "To all those who wish to vanquish us, I want to say that terror is a boomerang. It's targeted against us but hits its instigators. We bow our heads but won't lose our soul. I know that security forces will catch the murderers and they will be brought to justice." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of the three Israeli teens saying, "We were charmed by the magic of their smile, their kindness, their joy of youth. Today became a day of national mourning." ðùéà äîãéðä ùîòåï ôøñ áäìååéú ùìåùú äçèåôéí ááéú äòìîéï áîåãéòéï öéìåí çééí öç / ìò"î

By Jason Pearlman, at Modiin cemetery.

The crowd, no, the multitude gathered. Silently, steadily they streamed over the hills as the sun set overhead. Solemnly packed together in the early evening heat, wave after wave of psalms and prayers swept through the crowd, as the ambulances arrived.

One, two, then three. Eyal, Gilad, Naftali. Three boys, just children, murdered in cold blood, to be laid to rest in the presence of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of mourners.

Few knew them personally, but all grieved for their children. For these slain children, and for our own children who grow up in a world where such heinous evil could exist.

Funeral 1-7-14  001The leaders gathered. The President, his successor, the Prime Minister, and an almost full complement of cabinet members and officials – each bearing a heavy burden.

And so the bodies were laid out. Eyal, Gilad, Naftali.

The voice which directs all Israel’s official ceremonies read their names, his usually steady chord shattered with the emotion of the moment.

Then the fathers recited the mourner’s prayer amid wails from the crowd, shrieks of terror at the sight of nature corrupted, parents burying their children.

Their teachers eulogised these beautiful children; students devoted to their studies, sport, music, to their families and friends.

Their places remain empty in their classrooms.

To the families, there was praise for their strength, as they offer comfort to the whole bereaved people of Israel.

Their head-teacher spoke, and lead the crowd in chanting together in Hebrew.

“I accept upon myself the commandment to love my neighbour as myself’. A message of peace. A beam of light from the very darkest depth.

The Chief Rabbi’s plea. “We have shown our strength as we united in prayers for you,” he wept, “We prayed as one. Let us move forward together as a people. As one, united.”

Then the indefatigable Benjamin Netanyahu approached the podium.

The sunset grew closer. The people looked to him to set the tone.

“Our enemies”, he said, “glorify death, and we sanctify life”. And in that moment we stood, true to his words. Mourning destruction and yearning for peace.

– The author is UK & EU Director for The Face of Israel.

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