The Chabad Jewish Student Center organized a vigil to remember the abduction of three Israeli males Friday. About 20 participants congregated in the Indiana Memorial Union to show their support for the Israelis’ return.
According to the Associated Press, the teenagers disappeared on the night of June 12 after leaving a religious seminary in the West Bank. One of the boys was an American citizen.
Amit Boukai, president of Students Supporting Israel at IU, said the vigil was also organized in response to the lack of media coverage surrounding the incident.
“It was important because the media coverage of the kidnappings has not been as expected, when especially an American citizen has been kidnapped by terrorists and our country has been at war with terrorists since 9/11,” Boukai said. “Its appalling to know that it’s kind of a minor news report.”
Participants were given a packet of information and engaged in a discussion regarding the importance of showing solidarity with the families of the males. They also took a photo with a banner that displayed portraits of the three boys and the Twitter slogan '#bringbackourboys.'
Although the abduction occurred overseas, Hillel executive director Sue Silberberg said IU is also impacted by the incident.
“When anybody is a victim of terrorism, we all suffer through that,” Silberberg said. “It makes us a stronger world to care about everybody and anytime that there’s terrorism, we have a responsibility to speak out against it.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since blamed the abduction on Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that is considered a terrorist organization by both Israel and the United States.
The incident has added strain to the historically tumultuous relationship between Israel and Palestine.
Although all of the organizations sponsoring the event possessed Jewish or Israeli affiliations, Chabad Jewish Student Center president John Putz said he believes the kidnappings transcend the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Putz said he plans to continue organizing events for the abducted teenagers until they're found.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim, Jewish or Christian, we don’t want children being kidnapped for political reasons,” Putz said. “That’s why we’re trying to frame it that it’s not a Jewish issue. It’s really a human issue.”