U.S. Congressmen in Illinois released the following statements condemning the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenage boys by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank on June 12 and expressing solidarity for their families.
Rep. Cheri Bustos:
“As the mother of three sons, my deep-felt thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the kidnapped Israeli students. I stand united with the people of Israel as efforts continue to bring these boys home safely and reunite them with their families.”
Rep. Danny K. Davis:
"I join in the strongest condemnation of the abduction of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinian terrorists last Thursday night. I regret I will not be in Chicago on Monday morning to be with you for the vigil for their prompt return and offer my own prayers for their safety. Please know that I am there in spirit and that this terrorist act continues to weigh heavily on my heart.
I condemn the taking of the three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Frenkel, who I understand, is also is an American citizen. The victimization of children is both horrifying and repelling and no party to any dispute is justified morally or legally to use children as pawns.
I trust that the enormity of this act will trigger such universal disapproval and anger that the calls for their immediate return will be impossible to ignore and that the exploitation or harm of children for political or military advantage will become unacceptable under any circumstances and by any party. I call on the Palestinian Authority to cooperate fully with Israel to reunite these youths with their families."
Rep. Rodney Davis:
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three recently abducted Israeli boys. As the father of two sons, I can’t imagine the heartbreak experienced by these families as their children were taken while waiting for the school bus to return home. I strongly condemn Hamas for this cowardly and despicable crime and urge the Palestinian Authority to cooperate fully with Israel to ensure the safe return of each child."
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three Israeli teenagers that were kidnapped. I fully support both the Israeli and Palestinian efforts to find them and return them safely.”
Rep. Bill Foster:
"Israel is our strongest ally in the region, and I stand with their citizens in the efforts to return these young men to their families. I am a father myself and I can't imagine the pain these families are experiencing. My heart goes out to them."
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
"I join in the prayers for the safe return of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal and strongly condemn Hamas for perpetrating this heinous act. I support Israel's determined efforts to bring these young men home and hope for a successful outcome very soon. This once again shows that Hamas is a terrorist organization that should never be considered a legitimate partner for peace."
Rep. Dan Lipinski:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the kidnapping of three Israeli students who were abducted as they were heading home from studying at their Yeshiva. My thoughts and prayers are with Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaer, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, who is an American-Israeli dual citizen, and also with their families. The terrorists responsible for this cowardly and despicable act must be brought to justice. I join Secretary Kerry and the Israeli government in calling on the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with Israel and their security forces to return these young men to their families. The targeting of students and the celebration of this brutal act by Hamas and other groups is truly appalling. I stand with the people of Israel and pray for the quick and safe return of these three young men.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky:
“I join with many in the 9th Congressional District and around the world in expressing my deep concern for the three Israeli teenagers who were abducted on their way home from school last week. My thoughts and prayers are with Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Frenkel (who is also an American citizen), their families and friends as we do everything we can to ensure their safe return. I commend Secretary of State John Kerry for his strong response and urge all parties, including the Palestinian Authority, to do everything possible to achieve the prompt release of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.”
Rep. Brad Schneider:
“I applaud the efforts of the Chicago community, and in particular the 2014 Jewish United Fund Lewis Fellows – young people not much older than the three kidnapped students – for organizing a community-wide vigil to express our unified support for the safety and return of the three boys, for their families, and all of Israel.
In the days since Palestinian terrorists kidnapped the three Israeli teenage students, Eyal Yifrach (19), Gilad Shaar (16) and Naftali Frankel (16), I have watched with grave concern and prayed for their safe return to their families. As a father of two young boys, I cannot fathom the anguish of the parents, and I join my colleagues in the United States Congress and the American people in solidarity with the families, as well as the people and the government of Israel, as they seek to bring the young students home.
Evidence increasingly points to Hamas involvement in the abduction of the boys. At the same time, Hamas continues to advocate violent action against Israel, increasingly calling into question Palestinian efforts to form a unity government involving Hamas. I call on President Abbas to disassociate from Hamas, and any entity that is demonstrated to have participated in this horrible crime.
Furthermore, the abduction of these innocent boys, the widespread celebrations in the Palestinian Territories of the kidnapping, and ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza, shed light on the broad spectrum of threats that Israelis live with on a daily basis. It is critical that the international community unites in opposition to these types of terrorist activities, and openly condemns those who advocate and celebrate such heinous actions as legitimate.
Let us all keep these captive boys, their families and their communities in our thoughts and prayers, and may we soon celebrate their safe redemption and reunification with their families.”
Rep. Aaron Schock:
"Israeli children live in fear today because of the inability - and perhaps, unwillingness - of the Palestinian leadership to effectively clamp down on Hamas and other terrorist groups operating inside their territory. The kidnapping of three teenagers studying the Torah in the West Bank underscores the failure of the Palestinian Authority to foster peace and eradicate terror. I am concerned that recent actions by US negotiators are insufficient to demonstrate the unyielding commitment that this nation has to the peace process, and may have emboldened Hamas. The teenagers must be returned safely to their families immediately, as the patience of Israel wears thin. The United States Congress has shown time and again our firm resolve to stand with our ally as Israel deals with threats to its people and peace."