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Missing Teens Afflict Israelis and Palestinians
   2014-06-20 11:30:04    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Mao

The note on the door of a dormitory reads "Eyal, we are waiting for your return..." in Hebrew in Yeshiva Shavei Hebron, a Jewish institution in the West Bank city of Hebron, in this photo taken on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com / Zhang Jin]

By CRI Jerusalem Correspondent Zhang Jin

 

It's been over a week since three Israeli teenagers went missing while on their way home from their yeshivas.

The subsequent military crackdown has been taking its toll on both Palestinians and Israelis.

On the door of a dormitory at Yeshiva Shavei Hebron, a Jewish institution in the city of Hebron in the West Bank, a sign in Hebrew reads "Eyal, we are waiting for your return..."

Eyal Yifrach, a 19-year-old student at the yeshiva, is one of the three Israeli teens who went missing from a hitchhiking area in the West Bank last Thursday.

The other two are Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, who are both 16 years old.
 
The Israeli government still contends the three were kidnapped by Hamas, even though Hamas has consistently denied the accusation.

Dovi Wiess, director of the yeshiva, says while it's been a very difficult time, they have received a lot of support.

"The staff in the yeshiva here try to give as much as they can to the students. Some Rabbis from all over the country actually showed up here and spoke with the boys a few times already. They came here to be united, to be together, to give us strength. We need patience now to give the army and the police the time to do whatever they need to do, and we all hope that it's going to be over soon."

Micky Zivan, Eyal's schoolmate, says despite the incident, they will continue on with their lives and wait for Eyal's return.

"Right now we miss him a lot, but we'll continue on. I go back and forth from the yeshiva to my house by tramping (hitchhiking), and now I'll continue to do that. I don't see a reason to change that. Whatever message that those who took him and Gilad and Naftali, it's obvious they failed. We'll only get stronger, because of the strength, all around Israel, the unity, the love."

Israel Defense Forces, together with the Israel internal Security Agency Shin Bet, along with the Israeli police, have fanned out across the West Bank, particularly around the city of Hebron, in the search for the three.

Israeli military spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, says they are operating under the assumption that the boys are alive.

"Our concern is that we are able to bring them home, and to send a clear message to Hamas that there is a price to be involved in this type of terrorist activities. Hamas cannot continue to operate as normal while these boys are abducted. The mission is not bound by time. Over the last year and a half, Hamas have led almost 60 attempts to abduct Israelis and Israeli soldiers. This is a reality that we are not willing to live with."

Lerner says they are trying to carry out their mission with a minimal impact on civilian life.

However, Murad Amro, a Palestinian human rights activist in Hebron, says the security crackdown is having a dramatic impact on people's lives.

"Now we are under siege. We are not allowed to go outside Hebron. We can't live normal life. They invade the houses, terrifying the kids. They conduct random arrests. They don't just target Hamas. They are targeting everyone. They are humiliating us. It's not our mistake as civil people. We don't hide anyone. We don't support violence."

Around 300 Palestinians have already been arrested in the massive sweep.

Security at border crossings has also been increased significantly.

The Israeli military has also been launching strikes on suspected Hamas training areas in the West Bank.

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