Israel’s President Shimon Peres met with the families of the kidnapped teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar on Thursday and promised them that he would work to recruit U.S. President Barack Obama in a worldwide condemnation of terror at the White House next week.
Peres told the families, “The leaders of the world must make their voices heard loud and clear, they must take a strong stance against terror. Terror is a global problem, not just an Israeli one — we must recruit the world.”
“The world is not yet recruited; during my conversations with President Obama and the leaders of the U.S. Congress I will raise the cry of the people of Israel against terrorism, both in private and in public,” Peres said.
The kidnapping adds to an agenda for conversations with Obama which already included a renewed appeal on behalf of the ailing Jonathan Pollard, for his release from prison on humanitarian grounds after serving over 28 years.
It will be Peres’ farewell visit to the U.S. in his capacity as president, before stepping down in July. He is slated to receive the Congressional Gold Medal during the visit.
Ofir Shaar, the father of Gilad, said in a statement, “We thank you, Mr. President, for your involvement on behalf of our sons, Gilad, Naftali and Eyal. Your invitation to us is another example of the genuine support we have felt over the past days from all directions, with no distinction between religion, politics or sector.
“Your words strengthen us as we stand strong and united in this difficult time that our families find themselves in. The people of Israel are with us. The Jews of the world are with us. We expect the whole world to act to free our boys. We ask of you all to do more and to your positive thoughts, to increase your prayers alongside the actions of the security services who are working night and day to bring back Naftali, Eyal and Gilad home safely as soon as possible.”
During the meeting, which lasted over an hour and a half, the parents told Peres about their children, about their hobbies, about the source of their names and about their friends and family. Eyal’s parents told President Peres that not long ago their son had visited the President’s Residence with his fellow students.
Gilad’s parents told the president that their son loves his friends and five sisters. Naftali’s parents spoke about his excellence as a student and his love for playing the guitar.
Peres embraced the families and said, “I asked to meet you because this is a national event, the whole nation is united and standing by your side and praying with you for the safe return of your boys.
“The security forces are working day and night in every street and alley of Hebron and leaving no stone unturned in the effort to find your boys,” Peres said.