Daily Israel Report

Peres Tells Parents of Abductees He'll Involve Obama

Outgoing President Peres says he'll raise the triple abduction in conversations with US president, heads of congress.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/19/2014, 3:20 PM

Peres with Uri and Iris Yifrah
Peres with Uri and Iris Yifrah
GPO, Mark Neiman

Outgoing President Shimon Peres hosted the parents of abducted teenagers Gilad Sha'ar, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Frenkel in the Presidential Residence Thursday.

President Peres embraced the families and heard from them about their experiences over the past days.

Commenting on the nationwide solidarity for the plight of their sons, the President said such national unity was an "historic" moment.

"I asked to meet you because this is a national event, the whole nation is united and standing by your side and praying with you for the safe return of your boys," Peres said. "The security forces are working day and night in every street and alley of Hebron and leaving no stone unturned in the effort to find your boys."

He stressed that security forces "will do everything to bring the boys home."

Turning to the parents, Peres said despite not having known them he understood "how much you have invested in them; how much love, wisdom and sacrifice...I'm proud of you, I'm proud we have parents like you (in Israel). You've invested in them all you have, love, Torah and courtesy."

"Three families like this can lift up a nation to heights previously unknown, and I'm not exaggerating. It's been several days that Israel is different, unified, joined, praying, fighting."

"I, like many other citizens, feel like they're our children, not only yours. And every scrap of information that we receive, that one played guitar or gave a performance, it touches the heart," Peres added, to the emotional reaction of the parents.

Peres addressed the international community's reaction, declaring that "the leaders of the world must make their voices heard loud and clear, they must take a strong stance against terror."

"Terror is a global problem, not just an Israeli one – we must recruit the world."

He told the families that he will raise the same demand during his visit to the United States next week.

"The world is not yet recruited; during my conversations with President Obama and the leaders of the US Congress I will raise the cry of the people of Israel against terrorism, both in private and in public. We must continue to pressure the terrorists, to remove their sources of funding. Just as there were sanctions against Iran we must raise the sanctions against any source of terror. They must be brought to justice. And we must call out, so that the children in countries which foster terrorism know that it is a disaster for them as well."

Ofir Shaar, the father of Gilad, thanked the President for his solidarity.

"We thank you, Mr. President, for your involvement on behalf of our sons, Gilad, Naftali and Eyal. Your invitation to us is another example of the genuine support we have felt over the past days from all directions, with no distinction between religion, politics or sector.

"Your words strengthen us as we stand strong and united in this difficult time that our families find themselves in. The people of Israel are with us. The Jews of the world are with us."

Ofir said emotionally "we expect the whole world to act to free our boys. We ask of you all to do more and to your positive thoughts, to increase your prayers alongside the actions of the security services who are working night and day to bring back Naftali, Eyal and Gilad home safely as soon as possible."

During the meeting, which lasted over an hour and a half, the parents told President Peres about their children, about their hobbies, about the source of their names and about their friends and family.

Eyal's parents recounted how not long ago their son had visited the President's Residence with his pre-military study program; Gilad's parents told President Peres that their son loves his friends and five sisters and Naftali's parents spoke about his excellence as a student and his love for playing the guitar, according to the President's office.