Netanyahu and the parents
Netanyahu and the parentsFlash 90 / composite

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hosted a traditional Bible study class in his official residence Sunday. The Bible classes were first held by Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion. They were discontinued, then renewed by Menachem Begin, then discontinued again, and renewed once more by Netanyahu two years ago.

The class is named for Netanyahu's father in law, Shmuel Ben-Arti z”l, and is held in cooperation with the Begin Heritage Center.

This evening, in the sixth session held since the class was renewed, the class focused on the Biblical portion of Bereshit, which opens the Bible. It was held with the participation of Education Minister Shai Piron and the parents of the three teens who were abducted and murdered by Hamas – Uri and Iris Yifrah, the parents of Eyal hy”d; Avi and Rachel Frenkel, the parents of Naftali hy”d; and Ofir and Bat Galim Sha'ar, the parents of Gilad hy”d.

"We are about to finish the reading of the Torah on the Simchat Torah holiday and start all over again from Bereshit,” said Netanyahu. “The cyclical nature of the reading of the Torah and starting to read it afresh, is also symbolic of the renewal of our nation in our country. Despite all of the attempts to annihilate us, we rebuild ourselves anew every time, with a truly deep connection to our roots, but at the same time growing the tree that is called the Nation of Israel, with our deep roots and the branches that turn up and upward.”

"I am always stirred by this occasion,” Netanyahu said. “It was postponed by the campaign that took place in the summer, but I want to tell you that even during this campaign, in this house, we continued to study the Bible. We study it at least once a week. It is a part of who we are and it is not for nothing that this class is named for my father in law, Shmuel Ben Artzi z”l, who was a man of the Bible, amd who saw the study and teaching of the Bible as his life's mission. He passed this on to generations of students, and also to his daughter, sons and grandchildren.”

"We are excited on this occasion by the participation of the parents of the three wonderful youths, the wonderful parents, who also symbolize the great sacrifice and the nobility of spirit and greatness of soul of our nation at its finest. I greet all of you, along with my wife, Sarah, with a welcome and a real hug, which is the hug of the entire nation of Israel.”

After going missing on June 12, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and 16-year-old classmates Gilad Sha'ar and Naftali Frenkel, were declared kidnapped the next day.

Suspicion immediately fell on Hamas after intelligence pointed towards the involvement of two suspects whose names were publicized two weeks later.

An 18-day search for the three teenagers ensued, accompanied by a crackdown on Hamas in Judea and Samaria, but the search ended in tragedy after their bodies were found in a field close to the Arab village of Halhul near Hevron. They were buried side by sidein the city of Modi'in.