Westside Leaders Outraged Over Israeli Teenagers' Deaths
By Beth Lindly
Special to the Observer
The recent deaths of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers have not only impacted the players on the world's stage, but also locally.
Eyal Yifrach, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frankel, 19, disappeared in Israel while returning home earlier this month. The teenagers' bodies were found Monday evening in a field north of the Israeli city of Hebron, spurring a flow of grief from those around the world as well as in California.
Culver City Congresswoman Karen Bass and Santa Monica Congressman Henry A. Waxman have both released statements regarding the tragedy.
"The kidnapping and murder of innocent, unarmed teenagers is a cowardly and barbaric act that has no place in a civilized world," Waxman stated in his release. "We all grieve for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel and embrace their families in our hearts."
Congresswoman Bass echoed Waxman's statements.
"This morning's news that the bodies of these young boys were found north of the city of Hebron is truly devastating, and I join with my constituents and the people around the world in denouncing this tragedy," she said. "Whoever is responsible is cruel and cowardly."
Congresswoman Bass spoke with the boys' relatives, including Shaar's aunt, who lives in Los Angeles, regarding their disappearance.
""Last week I spent time with Gila'ad's aunt, Leehy Shaer, and spoke on the phone with the fathers of the boys in Israel," Bass stated. "Words cannot describe the pain and suffering that I know the families are experiencing at this very moment. We mourn together because of our common humanity, and it is this humanity that calls on this violence against children and innocents to end."
While Congressman Waxman joined members of the Southern California Jewish community in mourning the teenagers' deaths, he also issued a call to action regarding the perpetrators of the crime.
"These boys had deep ties to the U.S., including Los Angeles, and their murder has hit our community hard," he said. "We must stand firmly with Israel as it seeks to bring those responsible to justice."