Historical Event – June 12th, 2014
On This Day in Jewish History: June 12th, 2014.
The Unfortunate Kidnapping
Three Israeli teenagers named Eyal Yifrach z”l, Gilad Shaar z”l, and Naftali Fraenkel z”l found themselves in danger while hitchhiking at a bus stop near the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Gush Etzion. The last connection with Gilad Shaer was a call to the emergency hotline, reporting in a whispered message, “They kidnapped me.” This message was followed by sounds of Arabic shouting and automatic gunfire before the call was lost. (z”l = may their memory be blessed)
Operation Brother’s Keeper
The ensuing response was Operation Brother’s Keeper (מבצע שובו אחים) aimed at finding the three boys. Over 11 days, the IDF arrested about 350 Palestinians, including virtually all of the Hamas West Bank leadership. Despite denials from Hamas, three members of the group were named as key suspects after two weeks.
The Tragic Outcome
On June 30th, after three weeks of searches and heightened tensions, the bodies of the three teenagers were found bound and buried in a field north of Hebron. Autopsies revealed that Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali had been murdered shortly after their abduction.
The Consequences: Operation Protective Edge
As the directives for the kidnappings came from Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip, and the launch of rockets on Israel commenced, IDF retaliated. On July 8th, 2014, the IDF engaged the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in Operation Protective Edge (מבצע צוק איתן). This sparked a seven-week conflict, one of the deadliest between Israel and Palestinians in decades.
Text Source: Jewish Virtual Library
Image Source: Times of Israel