Israel’s security Cabinet: ‘Wide-ranging’ search for boys will continue

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s security Cabinet said the military will continue “wide-ranging operations in the field” to locate three kidnapped Israeli teens.

The security Cabinet made the announcement after meeting Wednesday evening,  according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

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A day earlier, the Israeli army said that in its search for the boys, it was scaling back its operations against Hamas and incursions into Palestinian areas of the West Bank at the urging of the full Cabinet.

Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach were abducted while returning home from high school and a pre-army academy from a junction in Gush Etzion, located south of Jerusalem.

The security Cabinet also said it would investigate banning the transfer of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Palestinian prisoners convicted of being involved in terrorist attacks.

The Palestinian Authority pays monthly stipends and large release grants to jailed Palestinian terrorists, totaling up to tens of thousands of dollars. It is believed that some foreign aid is used by the Palestinians to meet payments for imprisoned and released terrorists.

Also Wednesday, Shaar’s mother, Bat-Galim, told reporters that a deal agreed to late Tuesday to end hunger striking by Palestinian prisoners is “a serious mistake” and that Palestinian prisoners should be pressured, not appeased.

“It’s unthinkable that our boys haven’t returned and you are seeking to reach understandings with Palestinian prisoners charged with terrorism,” Shaar said during a visit to the Knesset.