Tens of thousands of people of every religious and political orientation came together yesterday to bury Gil-ad Shaar (age 16), Naftali Fraenkel (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19), who were murdered by Hamas terrorists. Buses lined the roads to the Modi’in municipal cemetery hours before the funeral ceremony began. After separate ceremonies took place in their respective home communities, the three were buried side-by-side with dignity and respect.
The Associated Press reported that even though the nation’s heart is torn, unity was strengthened as they came together to mourn their loss collectively.
“The plight of the teens captured the nation’s attention, and the discovery of their bodies prompted an outpouring of grief. An estimated 50,000 mourners attended Tuesday’s funeral in the central Israeli city of Modiin, arriving in hundreds of buses organized for the occasion.”
Many walked miles in the Mediterranean heat to attend the service.
The BBC reported that:
“In burning afternoon sunshine, tens of thousands of mourners made their way through the steep, arid landscape outside the central Israeli town of Modein to this tiny hilltop cemetery.”
Although some attendees were family and close friends, the majority were teenagers from throughout Israel who didn’t know of the boys prior to their abduction. They identified with them, as they knew that it could have been their funeral that day.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid spoke at the ceremony for Gil-ad Shaar in Talmon and said:
“… this isn’t a loss for just one sector or another but for all of Israel… the child of each and every one of us. We need each other on this day.”
The cemetery was not the only point of focus for mourning, with community centers, schools, and public squares becoming places where people are lighting memorial candles and placing flowers to remember three people they never new.
[Photo: Jason Rozen]