Missing yeshiva students (left to right)Naphtali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Lawmakers in both houses of Congress filed bills for the institution of a reward for information leading to the capture of the killers of the three Israeli teenagers.
The Senate bill, written by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday, would require the secretary of state to “offer rewards totaling up to $5,000,000 for information on the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, a dual United States-Israeli citizen.”
Fraenkel, together with Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, was kidnapped and shot at a hitchhiking post in the Etzion settlement bloc on June 12. Jerusalem blamed Hamas, identifying organization members Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha as the perpetrators. Hamas denied responsibility for the attack.
Reports claim that the FBI is involved in the investigation of the attack due to Fraenkel’s status as a US citizen.
Cruz’s bill would be under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program, which allows for a monetary prize for anybody who provides information “that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits or attempts international terrorist acts against US persons or property.”
“The Israeli government’s recent action against Hamas is a just and appropriate mission to both bring the terrorists responsible to justice, and to degrade their capability to launch further attacks,” Cruz said in a statement applauding the offensive in the Gaza Strip. “No one doubts Israel’s ability to carry out this mission, but given Naftali’s citizenship, I believe the United States should demonstrate our clear support for Israel by offering a reward as we traditionally have in terrorist attacks involving Americans. This support should be understood in the context of our partnership with the nation of Israel in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, which is our fight as well. I’m proud to work with Congressman Lamborn on this legislation.”
A bipartisan companion bill was filed in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Douglas Lamborn (R-Colorado) and Brad Sherman (D-California).
According to Lamborn, “the silence from the Obama Administration is truly appalling. Doing nothing in the face of such a heinous action is not an option.
That’s why Senator Cruz and I are working on moving this solution forward in a bipartisan manner.”
The draft legislation “sends a message loud and clear to terrorists, generally, and Hamas, specifically, that there are consequences for murdering American citizens,” William Daroff, senior vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of the Jewish Federations of North America, told The Jerusalem Post.
Yishai Fraenkel, Naftali’s paternal uncle, thanked Cruz, Lamborn and Sherman for their efforts, telling the Post that he hoped “we find them [the killers] very soon.”
“Things like this can be effective. I think we saw in the past where such bounties were helpful. This is parallel to very intense efforts done by the Israeli security forces,” he said.