Testimony: Last Person to Speak to the Kidnapped Teens
Testimony has been received from likely the last person to speak to Gilad Sha'ar, 16, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19 before they were kidnapped last Thursday night by terrorists.
A resident of Gush Etzion in Judea in his 30s identified only by the initial L told Walla! that he stopped and spoke to the three that night right around the time of the kidnapping; the three were going in a different direction and therefore didn't get a ride from him.
L drove in his car from Rosh Tzurim, located just north of Kfar Etzion where the yeshiva of the three was located and where they were abducted from.
At 10:05 p.m. on Thursday L reports stopping at the hitchhiking station where the three were kidnapped from, and saw them waiting together, corroborating that three were abducted all together.
L stopped and was approached by Yifrah: "he came to my car with his bag on his back and asked me where I was going. I told him I'm going to Masuot Yitzhak (on the coast near Ashkelon). He smiled at me, didn't look disappointed, and told me they were looking for a ride to somewhere else and thanked me for stopping."
L drove on at that point, and it wasn't until the next day when he heard rumors about the kidnapping that he realized he had spoken to the kidnapped teens right before they were taken. L contacted security forces and relayed all the information surrounding the event.
"I'm trying to given them all the strength so that they (the teens) can return home safely and quickly to their family," said L.
Frenkel and Sha'ar reportedly left the yeshiva in Kfar Etzion at 10 p.m. on Thursday, contacting their parents to let them know they were on their way home. They were seen at the hitchhiking station at Alon Shevut Intersection soon thereafter, waiting for a ride in the direction of Beit Shemesh.
Yifrah arrived separately, after telling one of his friends around 9:40 p.m. that he was going to hitch a ride home.
A media gag order was lifted on Sunday, revealing that police received an emergency call at 10:25 p.m. from one of the teens whispering "we've been abducted! We are being kidnapped." In a blunder that has received a lot of heat, police took the call to be a prank, given the abundance of false alarms by Arab activists to overload the response system.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday criticized the media for intimating that the teens were somehow responsible for their own kidnapping by hitchhiking home.
It should be noted that for political and financial reasons, buses in Judea and Samaria are infrequent, and hitchhiking home has become a way of life for residents across Judea and Samaria and is a widely accepted - and common - practice. Car travel is too expensive for many families, due to both a 150% sales tax on new vehicles in Israel, and gas prices topping 7.66 shekel per liter ($6.50 per gallon).