Twenty mayors from around the globe who are in Israel this week for the International Conference of Mayors published an open letter calling for the return of the three kidnapped yeshiva students and condemned their abduction. The signed letter was given to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
This year’s conference, the 29th, was meant to serve as a way for mayors to learn about Israeli technological developments in fields such as cyber technology and energy, but recent developments turned the talk to the three missing teens.
“We were all saddened and deeply disappointed to learn of the boys’ abduction. Kidnapping, as well as taking hostages, is a violation of international law,” the letter said. “It is our firm belief that at no time and under no circumstances should children become the victims of such an inhumane and unjust way of action.”
Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Council for World Jewry, which organizes and sponsors the mayors' conference in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry and Union of Local Authorities, said he was pleasantly surprised by the mayors’ support.
The kidnapping happened the same day they had arrived, and in light of the great concerns for the teens’ safety, the idea for the letter was formed, Rosen said.
“What was interesting was that I was not sure how leading politicians in some of the communities, some of which have a large Muslim population, would react to signing a letter like that,” he said.
“To my surprise, there is not one mayor who has not signed,” he continued.
“Some even approached us because they hadn’t been asked yet, saying they wanted to sign. The outpouring of support from all corners will hopefully put pressure on those who have some contact with the terrorists to release these young boys.”
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu had met with the mayors and that the letter helped ease the sense of grief and disappointment about the world’s response to the abductions. It also expressed hope that the boys are recovered as soon as possible.
“We urge all involved to release them immediately and unconditionally, and return the boys safely,” the statement said.