Barkat with teens' parents
Barkat with teens' parents Jacky Levy

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the parents of the three abducted and murdered youths have announced a new prestigious and generous annual prize highlighting efforts for national unity.

The parents of Gil'ad Sha'ar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, together with Barkat, announced yesterday [Monday] the launching of an annual prize to be granted for work on behalf of national unity. This is to be the first memorial enterprise of this nature for the three youths, who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists early this summer.

As the search for the victims and their murderers began, the parents of the three set the national tone for the next several months – one of unity, faith, prayer, and determined strength.

The Gesher Foundation and the United Federation of New York also stand behind the prize, which will be granted each year on the anniversary of the murder. The NIS 100,000 award will be bestowed in the framework of an annual conference dealing with ways to advance national unity. A committee comprised of Mayor Barkat, representatives of the families, Gesher President Dr. Daniel Tropper, and others will choose the person(s) or organizations working towards these goals.

Two million dollars have already been raised towards this end, as well as for year-long social and educational projects that will perpetuate the spirit of unity that pervaded the country this past summer.

Mayor Barkat said he formulated the idea of the prize while visiting the grieving families. He praised them for their determination to wage the campaign for their sons as positively as possible, and said that Jerusalem – "the city that symbolizes the unity of the Nation of Israel" – is the most appropriate venue for the initiative.

An earlier memorial for the boys has been established adjacent to the site of the abduction. Givat Oz VeGaon, initiated and organized by Women in Green, features regular Torah classes, prayer services, and other activities in memory of the three and to perpetuate the Jewish presence in the area. 

The teens' parents with Mayor Barkat Jacky Levy