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Mother of kidnapped Naftali Frenkel tells U.N.: ‘Much more can be done’

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The mother of Naftali Frenkel implored the U.N. Human Rights Council to help find her son and two other abducted Israeli teenagers.

“Much more can be done and should be done by everyone,” Rachel Frenkel told the council on Tuesday morning in Geneva. “I ask everyone to do whatever they can to bring back our boys.”

Her address followed the council’s quarterly debate on the agenda item concerning the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. It is the only permanent item on the council’s agenda.

Frenkel was joined by Bat-Galim Shaar and Iris Yifrach, the mothers of the other two teens, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were kidnapped from a junction in Gush Etzion as they returned home from school on June 12.

Frenkel said every boy and girl deserves to come home to their families.

“It is wrong to take children – innocent boys and girls – and use them as instruments in any struggle,” she told the council.

Frenkel said that Naftali sent a text message telling her that he was on his way home, and “since then we have heard nothing,” she told the council.

“Every mother’s nightmare is waiting and waiting for her son to come home,” she said and described the abducted teens to the council.

Frenkel took the floor during the time slot allotted to the nongovernmental organization UN Watch.

Prior to her speech, member countries of the council criticized Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians, referring specifically to the search operation in the West Bank to find the teens but without mentioning the kidnapping. The mothers sat among other NGO speakers who rebuked Israel, including accusing it of war crimes.

Also Monday, the United Nations Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning the kidnapping of the Israelis and “deploring” the deaths of six Palestinians during Israeli military operations to locate and return the teens.

Jordan reportedly wanted stronger language regarding the deaths of the Palestinians. The United States said it would not approve a statement that directly criticized Israel.

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