A prominent rabbi in Israel’s settlement movement said on Saturday night that the nation shouldn’t be overly surprised by the abduction of three Jewish teens by Palestinian terrorists.
“It was obvious that the government’s acquiescence to release hundreds of murderous terrorists in previous deals would send a clear message that [abduction] pays,” Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo told Israel’s HNN, adding that it is “incumbent upon all political leaders, including the prime minister, to admit their mistake and not release another terrorist.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman appeared to meet Rabbi Wolpo’s demands when he acknowledged on Sunday that the abduction of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 19 (pictured) could be at least partially blamed on past prisoner releases and exchanges.
“There will be no more prisoner releases in instances such as this,” Liberman told Army Radio. “In no way will those who sit in Israeli prisons be freed.”
In its ongoing search for the boys, Israel has imposed a military lock-down on Judea, and IDF troops are reportedly surrounding the city of Hebron, close to where the abduction took place.
Israel has also started arresting leading Hamas officials, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu determined the group was behind the kidnapping. Hebron has a strong Hamas presence.
One of the Hamas leaders picked up by Israeli forces is Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and father of Mosab Yousef, who famously aided Israeli intelligence before converting to Christianity and finding asylum in America.
The following video provides a unique perspective from the helmet camera of one of the Israeli soldiers searching house-to-house for the abducted teens in Hebron:
Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis, including the nation’s chief rabbis, gathered to pray for the abducted teens at the Western Wall in Jerusalem:
and at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron: