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Aunt of U.S. citizen kidnapped by Hamas speaks out as White House petition demands U.S. action to help free 3 yeshiva students from captivity

By Mason White 4:10 PM June 16, 2014
Ittael Frankel 

By: Anav Silverman
(Scroll down for video) A White House petition was launched that demands U.S. action to help free three yeshiva students kidnapped by Hamas in the West Bank, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

On a quiet street in the rural community of Nof Ayalon, located in central Israel’s Ayalon Valley, members of the press stand outside the home of Racheli and Avi Frankel.

The parents of the missing Israeli teen, Naftali Frankel, who was abducted with two other classmates by Palestinian terrorists last Thursday night, in Gush Etzion, were unknown to the Israeli public just last week.

Giving her first statement to the press on Sunday morning, Racheli Frankel described the gratitude that she and her family have for all those trying to bring 16-year-old Naftali home.

“All the work that is being done by the Israeli security forces, the support of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, and the waves of prayers and support, we just request that this continues,” said Frankel.

Naftali’s aunt, Ittael Frankel told the Tazpit News Agency that “these are very hard days. We are very optimistic. We know that everyone is doing everything they can to bring Naftali and the other two boys, Gilad and Eyal, home.”

“We really believe that with all this help and all the prayers, we hope to see them home soon,” Frankel told the Tazpit News Agency.

“Naftali is an amazing kid. He’s really sweet – a combination of a serious kid and a fun kid. The 16-year-old student, who studied in a highly regarded yeshiva, Makor Chaim, in Gush Etzion, was supposed to take a biology exam tomorrow,” his aunt said.

The Frankels, who are U.S. citizens from New York, have been living in Nof Ayalon, a community of 430 families, for nearly 20 years.

“This is the first time that a kidnapping of a child or anyone has taken place in our community,” Rami Lieber, the spokesperson for Nof Ayalon told the Tazpit News Agency. “The community is a very supportive one – psychologists and social workers have been helping out with the family’s children since the kidnapping.”

On Sunday night, over 300 youths and community members of Nof Ayalon and from the surrounding area, gathered to pray together and recite the Psalms in the community’s yeshiva for the safe return of Naftali, who has six other siblings, and his classmates.

Meanwhile, a petition on the White House website was created, demanding the release of Naftali Frankel. 100,000 signatures are needed in order for the petition to be officially addressed by policy experts in the Obama administration. To sign the petition click here.