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Manhunt Mobilizes Efrat Community for Hospitality, Unity

Search for boys sends soldiers to Gush Etzion town; residents respond with bbq, World Cup on wide screen TVs.

Rabbi Yair Dreifus leads study session for secular, Orthodox students at Efrat's Yeshivat Siach Yitzhak, June 17, 2014

Rabbi Yair Dreifus leads study session for secular, Orthodox students at Efrat's Yeshivat Siach Yitzhak, June 17, 2014
Photo Credit: Gershon Ellinson/Flash 90

For nearly two weeks, the abduction of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel has inspired prayer, unity and concern from Jews around Israel, and around the world.

In Efrat, a Jewish town just two kilometers from the site of the fateful kidnapping, residents have seized on the tragedy to work towards increasing dialogue and communication between different sectors of Israeli society.

At Yeshivat Siach Itzahk, on the city’s Dagan Hill, hosted students from the Tel Aviv Secular Yeshiva for a joint study session about the mitzvah of redeeming of captives. The session ended with a prayer for the wellbeing of the boys.

Soldiers participating in the search for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are hosted by the residents of Efrat. Photo by Yael Abromowitz

Soldiers participating in the search for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are hosted by the residents of Efrat.
Photo by Yael Abromowitz

In addition, more than 2000 soldiers have bivouacked in local community centers, gymnasiums and youth group centers. Meals have been provided by local residents, who quickly organized communal barbecues around town. By 4pm Tuesday, local residents had  donated enough pitot, hummus, hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, salad and disposable plates for close to 10,000 people. Several locations set up wide-screen televisions to broadcast World Cup soccer competition, and soldiers were seen playing soccer with local teenagers at local elementary schools.

Soldiers participating in the search for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are hosted by the residents of Efrat. Photo by Yael Abromowitz

Soldiers participating in the search for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are hosted by the residents of Efrat.
Photo by Yael Abromowitz

Wednesday, too, the hospitality operation was underway well in advance of the soldiers arrival, with Facebook messages making the rounds this morning asking whether the soldiers would be returning tonight. As of this writing, more than 150 pizzas have been donated, hundreds of trays of pasta have arrived at private homes and public barbecue sites and hundreds of volunteers have again begun chopping vegetables in preparation for the soldiers’ return.

Soldiers greeted as they get off the bus in Efrat. Photo by: Michal Haber

Soldiers greeted as they get off the bus in Efrat.
Photo by: Meital Haber

Individuals who want to donate to soldiers involved in the search for Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali can call Philly Pizza, (02) 993 2237 or Pizzeria Efrat, (02) 993-1630

JewishPress.com has partnered with Standing Together to raise money towards purchasing basics and essentials for the soldiers who are out in the fields for days on end. To donate, click here.

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.


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