JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro visited the family of Naftali Frenkel, one of three Israeli teens kidnapped a week ago.
Frenkel is a dual American-Israeli citizen.
“I visited Naftali Frenkel’s parents. I offered the strong support of the U.S. government, our people and my own personal support in all the efforts to bring Naftali, Gil-ad, and Eyal home,” said Shapiro Thursday morning after the visit to the family home in Nof Ayalon, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot reported.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki discussed the progress of the investigation with reporters during a briefing on Wednesday.
“We’ve been in touch with both the Israelis and the Palestinians throughout the course of the last several days since these teenagers were kidnapped. We know this is a difficult time, obviously, on the ground. We’ve urged continued security cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians in the search for the kidnapped teenagers,” Psaki told reporters.
She praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for calling for the teens’ immediate release and urged restraint during the search for the teens. “We were encouraged by President Abbas’ strong statement to the Arab and Islamic foreign ministers today in Saudi Arabia. But – and certainly as the search continues and in our conversations, we urge both sides to exercise restraint and avoid the types of steps that could destabilize the situation. And that’s a message that we are conveying in all of our conversations as well,” she said.
On Tuesday, Tony Orlando, a popular American singer from the 1970s, visited the families of the three teens and called on his fans to hang yellow ribbons in support of the boys’ safe return.
Orlando, singer of the well-known song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” was visiting Israel on a personal pilgrimage when the kidnapping gripped the nation, Yediot Acharonot reported.
“I want Israel to know that I intend to go back home and do everything I can to ask the people of America to tie those yellow ribbons, three yellow ribbons, to show support for the three young Israeli boys,” Orlando said in a videotaped message.