Politicians on right, left pray for captives to return

Likudniks blame Palestinian unity government, which Labor's Bar-Lev calls counterproductive.

ISRAEL KATZ 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Opposition and coalition politicians expressed support for the government’s efforts to bring back the three teenage boys kidnapped by terrorists.
“Our heart is with the families of the three missing boys: Naftali, Eyal and Gilad,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz wrote on Facebook Saturday night. “The Jewish people in Israel and abroad are praying.”
Katz added that he is outraged by expressions of joy on the Palestinian side and by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s silence.
“We will do everything to ensure they come home safely,” he wrote.
Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ophir Akunis said Abbas and his unity coalition with Hamas, which he called the “terror government,” are directly responsible for the abduction.
“This is the unavoidable result of legitimizing terrorist organizations. The international community must take back the blessing it gave to the new government and remember that a terrorist is a terrorist even when he also has the title ‘minister,’” Akunis said.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett simply tweeted a verse from psalms: “I pursued my foes and overtook them, and returned not until they were destroyed.”
According to MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi), the kidnapping is “the first taste of what awaits us with the cooperation between Hamas and the PA.”
Slomiansky said it is the PA’s responsibility to bring back the boys. In the meantime, he plans to pray and support the security forces.
Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said he was praying together with all of Israel for the teens to return safely to their families.
Shas Torah Sages Council chairman Rabbi Shalom Cohen called for all of Israel to pray for the captives on Friday, appealing specifically to women lighting Shabbat candles, a time when, according to tradition, they have God’s figurative ear.
MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu called for people to join them in prayer for the boys at the Western Wall on Saturday night.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) also said he would pray for the three boys to return safely.
“As opposition leader, I back the government and security forces and will help in any way possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, MK Omer Bar- Lev (Labor) called on Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin to urgently announce a committee meeting for Sunday so MKs can receive updates on the situation.
Bar-Lev called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cynical for blaming the incident on the formation of a Palestinian unity government with Hamas and said doing so would make it more difficult to free the captives.
“Our mission is to bring the boys home and one of the central ways to do that is to coordinate security activities and share intelligence with Palestinian security forces,” Bar-Lev explained.
“Therefore, we must not create a disconnect and altercations with the Palestinian Authority.”