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Prayer Vigil and Concert Planned Near Kidnapping Site

Local musicians plan alternative prayer vigil & concert near kidnapping site in Gush Etzion for three captive youth.
By Ben Bresky
First Publish: 6/24/2014, 6:58 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

A group of students and concerned neighbors are planning a prayer vigil and musical gathering near the site of the kidnapping of three Israeli youths by terrorists in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem.

Students from the Mekor Chaim high school will also be present; 16 year olds Neftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha'ar are students at the school, and were abducted along with 19-year-old Eyal Yifrah as they traveled home nearly two weeks ago. Community leaders will speak followed by a series of performers.

One of those musicians is Jerusalem native Izhar Shabi, who spoke to Israel National Radio about the events. 

To download full audio interview click here

Shabi is the grandson of Rabbi Meir Maman, a student of the famous Sephardic hazzan (cantor) Rabbi David Bouzaglo and who went on tour as a guitarist for the late, great Israeli singer Meir Ariel. 

"I was in the tzanhanim [IDF paratroopers] and spent my reserve duty in Hevron [where the kidnapped youth are believed to be held]. So I know this area quite well," he stated. 

"The army is doing their part, G-d bless them, and now and we are doing our part," he stated in regards to the prayer gathering. "When you've tried everything else, then you need to cry out to heaven, like it says in the Bible when the Children of Israel were in the desert."

He continued, "Jews work in two ways, the physical and the spiritual."

Shabi added a quote from the late Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, whose yarheit was held this week. "Rabbi Mordechai said that our generation is the reincarnation of the Biblical generation of the desert," he said, referring to the ancient Tribes of Israel's long trek through the desert to eventual freedom in Israel. He said that the connotation is positive, explaining "they escaped slavery in Egypt and were always complaining, but they merited to see Mount Sinai and the divine revelation. They were on a very high level. Now we need to create the tikkun [rectification] for them in our time."

Another organizer of the event is Gush Etzion native Yehuda Leuchter, well-known for his Aharit Hayamim festivals. He told Arutz Sheva that "the musicians attending are not playing their own music. It's not about showcasing our talents. It's about being together and demonstrating unity." Leuchter's grandparents were among the kibbutzniks of Gush Etzion in the 1940s and were taken captive by Jordanian troops in 1948. They returned and helped rebuild the communities following the Six Day War of 1967. 

The event is scheduled for Tuesday evening June 24th at Gavna in the Gush Etzion region.

For full podcast interview including music click here.

Ben Bresky is a radio producer and journalist living in Jerusalem.