World Jewish communities rallying around memory of murdered teens

PARIS (JTA) — Jewish communities across Europe and in South America are holding memorial gatherings for the three murdered Israeli teens.

In France, the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish communities and organizations is planning a silent vigil for Thursday near the Israeli Embassy in Paris to remember Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.

“A structure will be erected where those who are saddened and shocked by the killings may light candles and write condolences for the families,” read the CRIF statement, which was issued jointly with the Consistoire, the organ of French Jewry responsible for religious services. The book of condolences will be given to the Israeli Embassy and sent to the families, CRIF said.

In Marseille, home to France’s second largest Jewish community, approximately 100 Jews met at the city’s largest synagogue for special prayers for the three teens on Monday, hours after their bodies were discovered in a shallow grave north of Hebron. A similar gathering took place in the Grande Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the murders, which Israeli investigators believe happened on June 12 shortly after the three teens were abducted in the Gush Etzion, a settlement bloc located south of Jerusalem. The bodies were found Monday in a field near the West Bank city of Hebron.

The Jewish Community of Madrid invited members to a demonstration Tuesday evening in front of the Israeli Embassy to “express their pain over killings and demand the eradication of the Hamas terrorist group,” the community wrote in a statement.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it will convene a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy  in London on Wednesday to mourn “the tragic and senseless murder of three teenagers.”

In Argentina and Brazil, Jewish communities also announced vigils to be held Tuesday in Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo. The Argentine Jewish group DAIA is organizing its rally opposite the AMIA building, the site of a 1994 terrorist bombing that killed 85 and injured hundreds.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the murders a “detestable act.”

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said in a statement Monday that the EU condemned the killings of the teens in “the strongest terms.”

“We express our sincere condolences to their families and friends and share their grief,” she said, while also calling “for restraint of all parties concerned in order not to further aggravate the fragile situation on the ground.”

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