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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Kidnapping Saga: Wells Empty of Water but Full of Snakes and Scorpions

"They took him and cast him into the pit. (Gen. 37:24). Rashi: “There was no water; there were snakes and scorpions."
Israeli soldier search the Hebron area for clues of the fate of three kidnapped Jewish yeshiva students

Israeli soldier search the Hebron area for clues of the fate of three kidnapped Jewish yeshiva students
Photo Credit: Flash 90/IDF

Tens of thousands of pits, wells and caves, some of them dating back to Biblical times, dot the Hebron area where forces have been searching for a clue that might shed light on the fate of the three teenagers kidnapped by Palestinian Authority terrorists 10 days ago.

The search is practically endless. Some of the wells, like the one a few hundred feet from our house in the southern Hebron Hills, still have water in them. Many are empty, except for the possibility of one that was defiled by the snakes of the Palestinian Authority terrorists, and it makes no difference if they are from Hamas or not. They snatched Gilad, Naftali and Eyal and have cruelly not demanded ransom nor have they left a clue concerning their fate.

Rainfall in Hebron averages approximately 20 inches a year and half that amount in the southern Hebron Hills. Local residents began digging wells thousands of years ago, enabling them to have access water all year because the wells tapped into underground flows of water. Thousands of the wells are dry this time of year.

Without local experts, mostly Arabs who know the lay of the land, the army cannot locate all of the wells. One of the Jews very familiar with the area is Yaron Rosenthal, a tour guide and director of the Kfar Etzion Field School. He volunteered on Shabbat to help the IDF because he knows every rock and thorn in the area where Eyal, Naftali and Gilad were abducted.

The police, whose management and operations need to be torn to pieces and rebuilt professionally from the ground up, compounded their incompetency in the terrorist kidnap. Last week, police ignored for several hours an urgent and desperate call from one of the kidnap victims that he and two others were being kidnapped. By the time frantic appeals by one of the abducted boys’ fathers convinced the police to inform the IDF, several hours of valuable time had been lost.

This Saturday, police arrived at the area after Rosenthal pounced on a gang of Jews, who he said were from the community of Bat Ayin and were attacking a Bedouin youth.

The police immediately arrested Rosenthal, whom they saw hitting the Jewish gang, as they ignored Rosenthal’s report of the gang’s attack.

The incident is another aside in the torturous wait for news of the fate of the three youth. Rosenthal’s search eliminated several possibly locations of the bodies of the boys, if they have been killed.

The crude truth is that the terrorists could have murdered the boys, weighed down their bodies with rocks, threw them into a well of water and then covered them with more rocks to avoid discovery. One big hole in that theory is that the wells are used for drawing water, so covering one of them up would not remain a secret very long.

Even if the army could search all of the dry holes and caves in the Hebron region, there is a possibility that the terrorists planned the kidnapping so carefully that they dug a deep hole in some olive grove months ago to use it to bury bodies of victims. If that is the case, the search could go on forever unless there is a tipoff to intelligence personnel.

If the boys are alive, they likely are being kept in a deep underground tunnel, completely equipped with electricity and where they could be held for months or even for years. If that is the case, the tunnel, like hundreds in Gaza, exists under one of tens of thousands of homes in the Hebron area.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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