Hundreds Rally at Beverly Hills Memorial for Israeli Teens
BEVERLY HILLS -- "It wasn't supposed to be like this. It wasn't supposed to end like this," said Leehy Shaar, the aunt of Gilad Shaar, 16, one of three Jewish boys who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists in Israel. News of their tragic end hit the media on Monday upon the discovery of their brutalized remains in the West Bank town of Halul, near Hebron.
The teenagers had been killed execution-style, their scorched bodies buried in shallow graves.
Fighting to hold back tears of pain and sorrow, Shaar addressed an audience of several hundred people at Temple Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills on Tuesday evening who joined in mourning the loss of her nephew, along with Naftali Frenkel, 16 (who held dual US-Israel citizenship), and Eyal Yifrach, 19. She declared defiantly that "our fight against terrorism is not at all over."
Israel's Consul General to the Southwest David Siegel, State Assembleyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Congressional candidates Elan Carr (R-33) and Adam King (R-37) were among the those present.
"A Palestinian government that joins with a terror group [Hamas] that openly calls for the destruction of Israel, is firing rockets into Israel as we speak tonight, and is calling for more kidnappings...is not the kind of government that we can deal with," Siegel told Breitbart News.
"We are one nation, from Beverly Hills to Jerusalem," he said in his speech to the memorial. Last week, Siegel addressed an audience at a candlelight vigil in Los Angeles: "Silence is an accessory to terror," he said.
Shaar, who resides in Los Angeles, said that the loss of three young, innocent lives has united both Jews and non-Jews alike in a display of solidarity, and strengthened their determination to call for greater action in the battle against the terror.
A pastor who addressed the audience on behalf of Christians United for Israel attested to that solidarity as he said, "Yes our hearts are heavy, but you are not alone. We [the Christian community] stand with you through this time of need. And our absolute condolences go out to you... God bless Israel."
Terrorists "don't realize life is our strength, and we will not be broken," Shaar said, followed by roaring applause. She continued, "in the face of terror and the ugliness of the murder of our children we will only continue with even more strength to fight to make this world better."
Shaar recalled that Gilad was one of six children and leaves behind five sisters. His parents named him Gilad to mean 'happy forever'...but the terrorists brought a sudden end to 'forever,'" she said.
Shaar told Breitbart News that she had gratitude for the personal phone calls she received from U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressing their condolences and support for her and her family's loss.
Three memorial candles were lit, one for each victim, upon a table which was draped with the flag of Israel. In the background was a screen that showed the images of the three boys with their names in Hebrew.
Carr, who is a veteran of the Iraq War, told Breitbart News that standing together with all the victims of terrorists throughout the world was "not only the Jewish community, but the civilized community."
He drew attention to the young age of the victims: "You know, there's a reason why the enemies of Israel and of the United States and of civilization itself prey upon children," he told Breitbart.
"There's no greater ruin that can be imposed upon a human being, and no greater suffering, than to take away their children. And that's what these enemies do," he said. "They prey upon children for that reason, and it is high time the world unite and say enough is enough."
King called for the United States to "take a stand against terror" and said he believes the US "must stop funding the Palestinian Authority" for as long as they "continue with their unity government between Fatah and Hamas."
President Obama expressed his "deepest condolences" yesterday to the families of the slain teenage boys.
The memorial closed with the audience singing in unison to the song "Hatikva," which is the Israeli national anthem and which translates to "The Hope."