Mothers of kidnapped teenagers talk pain and unity that followed trauma

Rachelle Frankel, Iris Yifrach, and Bat-Galim Shaer, were brought together in the summer of 2014 after Hamas operatives kidnapped and murdered their three teenaged sons.

By ZACK EVANS
May 2, 2019 16:47
1 minute read.
Rachel Fraenkel, Bat-Galim Shaer and Iris Yifrah

From left to right: Rachel Fraenkel, Bat-Galim Shaer and Iris Yifrah speak at the Knesset on June 25, five days before their son’s were discovered near Halhoul.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Rachelle Frankel, Iris Yifrach, and Bat-Galim Shaer were brought together in the summer of 2014 after Hamas operatives kidnapped their three teenage sons, sparking a massive manhunt and escalating into a full-scale war between Israel and Hamas, Operation Protective Edge.

The bodies of their sons were found weeks after the kidnapping.

Five years later, the three mothers told Israel Hayom in an interview about the experience of living with their losses and about being among  the thirteen people who will light the torches at next week's Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

"The torch belongs to the people of Israel, not to us," said Frankel in an interview with Israel Hayom. "It reminds people of a moment that is important for them to remember. We were at our best. We stood together."

She continued, "A society that takes care to return the body of Zachary Baumel 37 years after the battle [in which he fell] is a society with the DNA of mutual responsibility."

Frankel, Yifrach and Shaer have been involved in initiatives to connect different parts of the nation, and have worked to increase respect and optimism in discourse.

However, the pain of their loss lingers on.

"In the beginning I searched for [my son Eyal] everywhere," said Yifrach. "Whenever I saw someone in the street with a large backpack, I thought it was him."

She continued, "If I go to the weddings of his friends, who are 24 years old now, I continue his friendship with them. The continuity sets in order my longing for him: for his eyes, his gaze, his embrace."




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