A delegation of 40 French Members of Parliament has arrived in Israel to commemorate 65 years of diplomatic ties between France and Israel. The delegation, which includes members of the Senate, national committee, mayors and former ministers, is the largest parliamentary group ever to visit Israel.
Upon their arrival, and despite their extremely busy schedule, the delegation’s members asked to visit the families Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel. On Sunday morning, they visited Frenkel’s parents in Nof Ayalon, telling the boy’s parents that their hearts are filled with prayer, appreciation and love for them and the boys. “Your smile strengthens us,” said one parliamentarian to Naftali’s mother, Racheli.
Meyer Haviv, head of the delegation, told Tazpit News Agency that the visitors expressed their sorrow for the poor and insufficient coverage this tragic event has received in the French media.
“Unfortunately, the French public is more interested in the World Cup than it is in the kidnapping,” explained Haviv.
Racheli responded that her son was also really looking forward to the tournament. “Naftali is just a normal child who ultimately just wanted to return home from school” she told the French visitors.
According to Haviv, the visit with the family left a profound impression with the delegation member. “Our visit was held under a very dark cloud of a tremendously dramatic event which hasn’t received enough coverage in France. When you come face to face with such courageous people, it is certainly impossible to remain indifferent.”
The delegation’s members expressed their sympathy and solidarity with the victims of terror. “Sadly we are personally acquainted with acts of terrorism, as it has struck us as well with the shooting and killing of innocents in Brussels and Toulouse,” said Haviv. Claude Goasguen, a former minister in the French government and the representative of the 16th quarter in the French Parliament, stated that he is determined to do everything he can to spread the family’s message.
“Although the issue is currently not receiving enough of the public’s attention in the world, we are aware of the power and influence embedded within the social networks, and it is beginning to pick up. We will make sure to spread the message in order to ensure the boys safe return to their homes as soon as possible. As far as we are concerned, there is no difference between these Israeli boys and the kidnapped girls in Nigeria and we join the families in prayer for their sons return,” said Goasguen.
The Frenkel family was touched by the parliament members’ visit. “It truly strengthens us to see this type of support from overseas. We hope to meet you again together with our son Naftali soon,” Racheli Frenkel told the delegation.