Senior Israel officials will hold two events on June 3 in memory of a trio of teenagers who were abducted and murdered last summer by Hamas terrorists.
Unity Day, and the Jerusalem Unity Prize, organizers said, would promote tolerance and cooperation between different sectors of the Jewish People in Israel, and the Diaspora. The prize winners, organizations and individuals who have excelled in promoting messages of unity through their work, will share an NIS 300,000 award in a ceremony to be hosted by President Reuven Rivlin.
The projects were organized by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, along with the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah. The boys were abducted from a bus stop south of Jerusalem by two Hamas terrorists, who shortly after shot them, and hid their bodies.
“The Jerusalem Unity Prize and Unity Day serve to memorialize the three boys by strengthening the common bonds that exist within our Jewish people and encourage greater tolerance and mutual respect between all sectors of our greater community,” Barkat wrote in a statement to the Tazpit News Agency.
Barkat lauded “…the ideals that were so remarkably exhibited during that most difficult period in the wake of the boys’ kidnappings and truly revealed this all-important aspect of our national identity.”
The students’ parents and families were acclaimed both in Israel and across the Jewish world for their strength and humility, both during, and after the 18 day ordeal in which the fate of their sons remained unclear.
“The kidnappings of our boys marks one of the more difficult moments in Israel’s modern history. But the reality is that out of this bitter tragedy came a spirit of unprecedented unity amongst the Jewish people,” the parents said in a joint statement.