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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘three yeshiva boys’

Gaza Terrorist Paid Hamas Brother $61,500 to Kill Teens

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Cleared for publication:  Hebron resident Hussam Qawasme was apparently paid NIS 220,000 – $61,500 – for the June 12 abduction and murder of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion.

Qawasme was arrested July 11 in connection with the attack, which he is credited with helping to mastermind. He reportedly received the funds for the job from his brother, a convicted Hamas official in Gaza.

According to information released Thursday by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) it was Qawasme who hid the bodies of 19 year old Eyal Yifrah, 16 year old Naftali Frenkel and 16 year old Gilad Sha’ar, kidnapped and murdered on June 12. He had purchased the field where the bodies were stashed in shallow graves along Highway 60 in the town of Halhul, halfway between Hebron and Gush Etzion.

“In an intelligence operation launched by the Shin Bet, Hussam Qawasme was tracked down and arrested in a hideout in the Shuafat refugee camp,” the Shin Bet stated.

Hussam Qawasme was given up by another arrested accomplice who had hidden him and was also recently indicted. Hussam himself was incarcerated in Israel from 1995 to 2002. He was convicted on charges of involvement in Hamas terrorist activities, including participating in a cell that carried out bombing attacks.

“He is the son of a family whose sons have been involved in severe terror attacks on behalf of Hamas,” the Shin Bet added.

The Hamas operative planned to flee to Jordan after stashing the bodies of the three teens but instead was caught and arrested, according the a statement released Thursday by the Shin Bet following Qawasme’s indictment in the IDF military court.

Hussam Qawasme is described in court papers as a ‘command level Hamas operative.’

His brother in Gaza – who allegedly bankrolled the operation – was freed by Israel as part of the prisoner exchange deal that secured the Oct. 18, 2011 return of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from five years of captivity by Hamas.

The money was transferred from Gaza to Qawasme in Hebron via cash-stuffed envelopes carried by Hussam’s mother and another, unnamed woman, the indictment alleged. Among the purchases were a vehicle with which to carry out the attack and four guns.

The two kidnapper-killers, relative Marwan Qawasme and Amer Abu Aisha are still at large.

But under interrogation, Hussam Qawasme, 40, named other Hebron family members who had planned to help him escape to Jordan with a fake ID after the attack. Hisham Qawasme, 35; Jamil Qawasme, 28; and Hamas member Hassan Qawasme, 45, are all in Israeli custody.

Missing Yeshiva Student’s Parents Plead for Public’s Help in Search

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

“I’m having a hard time now, but I will try to speak,” Chulda Sofer, Aharon’s mother, began in a trembling voice, in a heartbreaking video plea to the public for help in finding her son.

Aharon Sofer, 23, went missing on Friday, Aug. 22, while hiking with a friend in the Jerusalem Forest. A student who is learning in Jerusalem at Reb Tzvi Kaplan’s Yeshiva, he is one of 10 children, the son of a rabbi and a mother who works in a school office. He disappeared after taking a diverging path while heading down a steep incline in the forest while hiking with his friend last Friday. When he didn’t re-appear by 6 pm in time to prepare for Sabbath, Sofer’s friend knew something was wrong.

Few are willing to voice the fear that Sofer was kidnapped by Arab terrorists. Fewer dare to even think the unthinkable: as with three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists on June 12, the awful silence that has followed this yeshiva student’s disappearance may not mean good news. There have been terrorist murders in the Jerusalem Forest before. An Arab teen was kidnapped and killed there in a revenge attack for the Hamas murders of the three Israeli teens. A Christian woman, Kristine Luken, was attacked with her friend by a Palestinian Arab terrorist in 2010 in the same forest. Her friend managed to escape, but Luken was murdered.

Seen in the video clutching a poster bearing a photo of her son with the word MISSING printed in heavy black letters in Hebrew and English, Chulda Sofer is clearly beside herself. She tearfully beseeches, “Please, please, please, I beg of you, beg you, please, if anyone sees, anything about Aharon, please call the police immediately.”

The video at that point is apparently spliced, probably for brevity; Rabbi Moshe Sofer, the young man’s father, is then seen reading his own statement in a calm, firm voice.

“Our son Aharon was taking a walk in the Ya’ar Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Forest) on Friday, August 22, and was last seen at 12 pm in the area of Yad Vashem.

“The police are working tirelessly on all fronts and all options are being strongly investigated. We would like to thank the American Consulate, the Office of the Consul-General and the FBI and the Israeli Police and ZAKA for all their efforts in trying to find our dear son Aharon.

“There is a reward of NIS 100,000 for any finder of Aharon,” he concludes, faltering slightly on the final sentence.

One of Aharon’s cousins from the United States tried to organize a ‘group think’ effort to brainstorm ways to help via Facebook.

“Below is a list of phone numbers you can call in order to get updates on my cousin’s situation, provide ideas and different ways of helping, and also to get a list of tehillim (psalms) to say as we are all trying to finish the whole sefer tehillim (Book of Psalms) over and over and over again,” he wrote. “Please spread the word, pass this on and make those calls. thank you!!!!”

A yeshiva student who joined the thousands of searchers in the Jerusalem Forest, A*, said he has spent the past three days combing the hills for his friend. “I have been up since 5 am,” he said, “and we haven’t found anything. Not a single thing. Those earlier rumors of things that were found were false reports, I think. But in a way, that’s good, right? Because it means he might still be alive.” The student added that his friend has been in Jerusalem since early last autumn, and is no novice to the area.

Gush Etzion Unites in Response to Kidnapping and Murder

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The residents of Gush Etzion are uniting to show their resilience in the face of terror with an initiative created in part by Israeli media mind Ari Abramowitz, ‘One Flag.”

Gush Etzion residents are blanketing their loose-knit cluster of communities with Israeli flags to show of solidarity with the families of the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered there June 12 by Hamas terrorists.

“Rather than calling for hatred and revenge, since the very beginning of this nightmare each of the three bereaved families have been calling for national unity,” Abramowitz explained. “They have unified us, now it is our chance to stand united with them.

Each resident receives a message with their flag: “We, the Gush Etzion family are hanging flags from our windows. We are raising the flag in solidarity with the Sha’ar, Frenkel and Yifrach families who are mourning the murder of their beloved sons. Our nation was united in tears, prayer, and hope for their sons safe return. And now, as we mourn them, they continue to unite us.”

Gush Etzion resident Jeremy Gimpel, the other organizer of the campaign, added that Israelis, especially the youth in Gush Etzion, needed a positive way to harness both the grief of these devastating murders and the feelings of love, empathy, and support they all feel for the victims’ families.

“Jews have always made meaning out of pain and brought light out of the darkness of anti-Semitism and hatred. This united initiative is a truer reflection of the settlers. It’s peaceful, powerful, and regal. By the end of the Shloshim (30 day mourning period), it wouldn’t surprise me if this becomes a national campaign,” he said.

“The irony of this incredible campaign is that we were initially concerned with how the youth were dealing with the trauma of the murder in their neighborhood. As soon as we got the ball rolling, it was pushed forward almost entirely by the youth here who are mobilizing with impressive efficiency to distribute flags throughout their communities,” Abramowitz added.

Yitchak Nesh, a 17 year old activist, also noted, “We thought it was important to launch this campaign here in the Gush, where our friends were abducted. “Our enemies need to understand that while they have succeeded in murdering three innocent boys, they have failed at their greater goal of trying to scare us and weaken us.”

“So many people are confused by the violence and accusations in the media,” explained Mottle Wolfe of Tekoa. “Now is not the time for rifts and divisions, it is the time for healing and unity. That is what this ‘One Flag’ campaign is all about.”

The campaign has also engendered widespread support from the local community leadership and from mayor Davidi Perel, who strongly encouraged the initiative. The region’s “Orly Print,” agreed to print all materials at cost.

Likud Beytenu Minister: Death Penalty for Repeat Terrorists

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Likud Beytenu Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely is calling for the death penalty for terrorists who repeat their crimes.

Hotovely said Tuesday in an interview with Arutz Sheva that it is not enough to simply build more communities in Judea and Samaria in response to terrorist attacks.

Nor have targeted surgical strikes in Gaza proven to be a sufficient deterrent to terrorist organizations who appear intent on continuing their attacks on Israeli civilians.

“This is the first incident to come out of Judea and Samaria after the Hamas and Fatah unity pact,” Hotovely said. “It cost the lives of three innocent boys who wanted to return home safely. The government must now think about a long-term strategic move that will restore the deterrence.”

The MK’s remarks followed by a day the funeral for three Israeli teens who were kidnapped while hitchhiking home from yeshiva in Gush Etzion and murdered by Arab terrorists within hours of their capture on June 12. Thousands attended the funeral — and hundreds of thousands are demanding the government do something to ensure it’s the last time terrorists can succeed in their efforts.

To date, the only criminal ever to be put to death in the Jewish State was top Nazi official Adolf Eichmann. Israel does technically have the death penalty on the books – but it has never implemented it.

Hotovely contended that it is time to “change the rules of the game” and put that law into action.

She also said it is time to annex all the areas with a Jewish majority in Judea and Samaria. This would include all the territory in Area C.

One of the Murdered Boys Put Up a Fight, Source Says

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

One of the three boys kidnapped by Arab terrorists on June 12 gave a good accounting of himself and put up a fight before he was murdered, a source said.

The source is involved in the forensic identification process of three bodies found in a field near Halhul Monday evening and said one of the boys fought back against his attackers.

The source told the Walla! news site that forensic evidence being gathered at the Abu Kabir Institute shows that one of the teens put up “meaningful resistance” against the kidnappers.

The boys were abducted by terrorists while hitchhiking home from their yeshiva for the Sabbath, at a routine hitching stop in Gush Etzion. An IDF source told the news site that after the Arab terrorists grabbed the boys near the Jewish community of Alon Shevut, the vehicle they were traveling in headed west and then made a U-turn to go south towards Hevron.

Within minutes, at about 10:25 p.m., one of the boys called the “100″ police hotline, whispering into the cell phone, “I’ve been kidnapped. We’ve been kidnapped!” He then went silent, perhaps fearing his captors would discover he was using the phone. Shortly after the call was made, shots were fired and the phone went dead, a little more than two minutes later.

It is likely the terrorists decided to cut their losses and run. They had no way of knowing that police had bumbled the call, leaving open a window of more than five hours before anyone in supervision or above would even take the call seriously, let alone bother to follow it up. (At least four senior police officers have been dismissed as a result of that decision.)

Instead, the kidnappers likely believed that police would soon be on their tail – and decided to end all doubts, murdering the boys and escaping with their own lives intact.

Within hours of starting their search, security forces found a burned-out vehicle, a rifle and bullet casings near the Palestinian Authority Arab village of Dura, slightly south of Hevron – a hotbed of Hamas terrorists, among others. It’s been searched repeatedly by IDF soldiers in the past 19 days.

But no kidnapped boys were found; no bodies and no perpetrators. The terrorists took just enough time to hurriedly transport and bury their victims’ bodies in a shallow cave that is barely visible in a farmer’s stony field, alongside the PA Arab village of Halhul — another classic ‘terrorist central’ stronghold.

Thanks to the determination and unending energy of tens of thousands of IDF soldiers, and the intensive efforts of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents, searchers were led in the direction of that field Monday afternoon.

Despite fierce resistance from surrounding villagers who clearly knew what was concealed there, at last the searchers reached their first objective in Operation Brother’s Keeper, and found the sad evidence they were looking for.

Let the memory of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar not fade, let their blood not have flowed in vain.

May their memories be for a blessing and may God avenge their blood.

May the soldiers of the IDF and the agents of the Shin Bet find success in the next phase of Operation Brother’s Keeper as they continue their hunt for the murders of our boys.

EU Condemns Boys’ Murders But Urges ‘Restraint of All Parties’

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who dragged her heels interminably on issuing a condemnation when three Israeli teens were kidnapped by Arab terrorists 19 days ago in Gush Etzion, hurried to condemn their murders after their bodies were found together in a field located in Halhul, an Arab village smack in the middle of the Palestinian Authority.

The connection was inescapable – this crime was committed by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists, with the cooperation and collaboration of PA Arab villagers.

“We learned with profound sorrow that the bodies of the three Israeli youths who were kidnapped on 12 June in the West Bank were found on 30 June near Hebron,” read the statement released by Ashton’s representative on Tuesday. “We condemn in the strongest terms their killing. We express our sincere condolences to their families and friends and share their grief. We trust the perpetrators of this barbaric act will swiftly be brought to justice.”

Nevertheless, Ashton could not stop herself from reminding Israel to exercise caution when dealing with the PA.

“We call for restraint of all parties concerned in order not to further aggravate the fragile situation on the ground,” the statement concluded.

Angela Merkel Adds Germany’s Voice to Condemnations

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has added her voice to the chorus of world leaders who have weighed in with condemnations following the discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16 and Gilad Sha’ar, 16, who were murdered by their terrorist captors.

Merkel said she was “shocked” by the murders, calling it a “detestable act for which there is no excuse,” according to her spokesperson Steffen Seibert. He added the chancellor’s thoughts were with the families and friends of the teens.

The boys were kidnapped on June 12 while hitchhiking home for the Sabbath from their studies at yeshiva in Gush Etzion.

Initial forensic examination of their bodies indicates they were murdered shortly after they were kidnapped.

Their bodies were found in a cave located in a field near the Palestinian Authority Arab village of Halhul, just north of Hevron, in Judea.

Local Arab residents spent the day in fierce clashes with IDF soldiers and other security forces searching for the teens – clearly aware of what they would eventually find in their midst.

The Arabs hurled rocks and white paint at the windshield and windows of the IDF humvee ambulance that came to carry the boys’ bodies out of the area.

The clashes were similar to lethal road terror attacks visited upon drivers who travel on Highway 60, the main artery running from southern Judea north through Jerusalem and into Samaria.

The attackers did not succeed in distracting the IDF soldier driving the ambulance from successfully transporting his precious passengers out of the area and straight to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/angela-merkel-adds-germanys-voice-to-condemnations/2014/07/01/

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