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500,000 Shekel Reward Offered for Return of Abducted Teens

Privately-funded project aims to give monetary reward for intelligence on kidnapped yeshiva students.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/22/2014, 1:17 PM

Still missing (left to right): Eyal Yirfah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel
Still missing (left to right): Eyal Yirfah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel
Courtesy of the families

The IDF continues to search for kidnapped teens Gilad Sha'ar (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Naftali Frenkel (16) on Sunday, ten days after the three were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Operation Brothers' Keeper has seen a wide-scale crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria, and over 350 arrests

But one project aims to bring the search into civilian hands; by paying out a large reward for intelligence related to the kidnapped teens. 

Matan Nahmani launches an initiative Sunday to pay out a 500,000 shekel ($145,150) reward for private citizens who have useful tips on the teens' whereabouts. 

While Nahmani has only collected part of the necessary reward money, he has appealed to the public for donations - and stated that the initiative could aid the IDF in saving the boys' lives. 

"The project was conceived after consulting with ex-security officials, who thought that this could aid security forces by giving incentives for people to come forward with information," Nahmani stated to Kikar HaShabbat Sunday. "The general idea is that we do a mass funding project, pretty much - every participant contributing as much as he can toward the reward money." 

While 500,000 shekel is a high bar to set, Nahmani believes the reward should be even higher. 

"The minimum I want to collect is half a million (shekel), but my goal is a million and a half shekel," he said. "We decided to go public with this this morning, so I expect a lot of people to join in on this collaboration." 

Nahmani said that he would even pay the money to Palestinian Arabs, saying that he thinks they will cooperate - and not provide false leads - because they are "suffering" from the IDF crackdown. 

"The reality in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is problematic, there is a very large conflict between the Palestinian factions, and I believe any man who feels he is being suppressed by Hamas [. . .] would approach security forces [with information]," he said. 

He added that the project would not "offer any information" to go on for tipsters - preventing any leaks back to the terrorists responsible - but merely "provide an incentive" for civilians who do know something about the abduction. 

But what if the teens are found beforehand?

"If the circumstances do not require us to grant the reward to anyone, the money collected will be transferred to the Administrator General and support charities," he said, adding that all documents proving as such would be posted for the public to see. The Administrator General's Office handles all monies bequeathed directly to the State of Israel, and is a suboffice of the Ministry of Justice.