The U.S. State Department said on Friday that it was “very concerned” with the well-being of three yeshiva students who have been missing in Judea and Samaria since Thursday, and of whom one is reportedly an Israeli-American.
“We are aware – of course seen the reports, are very concerned for their well-being,” Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. “The Secretary a short while ago expressed his concern in a meeting with Tzipi Livni in London and also has spoken with President Abbas this morning about it as well.”
“We are working with the Government of Israel and with the Palestinian Authority to try to ensure the situation is resolved quickly, and that the three teenagers are safely reunited with their families. I can’t confirm citizenship at this point,” she added.
Asked whether Washington shared Israel’s sentiment that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its head, Mahmoud Abbas, is responsible for the safety of the students, Harf replied, “What we know is the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority are working closely together on efforts to find the three teenagers and to hopefully bring a quick resolution to the matter, and of course giving this cooperation our full encouragement.”
The three students, two of whom are from the Makor Chaim Yeshiva in the religious kibbutz Kfar Etzion, went missing Thursday night.
All communication was lost with them as they were on their way home from the yeshiva, located in Gush Etzion, roughly between Jerusalem and Hevron in Judea. Security sources suspect they may have been taken into a vehicle driven by terrorists that stopped for them as they waited at a popular hitchhiking spot.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday evening, telling him that the disappearance of the three was directly related to the PA’s unity government with the Hamas terrorist group.
"What is happening on the ground since Hamas was added to the government is a deterioration of the situation. This is the direct result of allowing a murderous and racist terrorist organization into the government," Netanyahu told Kerry.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)