Families Of Murdered Israeli, Palestinian Teens Comfort Each Other

by
Lauren Burgoon
It's rare to show this much grace when you've lost a son to terrorism. Both of these families are remarkable.
 

Politics and history tell them they're supposed to be enemies. But two families thrust into a nightmare are focusing instead on their humanity to help each other.

The families of two murdered teens -- Israeli Naftali Fraenkel and Palestinian Mohamed Abu Khdeir -- spoke with each other recently, sharing the grief only they can understand.

Fraenkel, 16, was one of three Jewish boys kidnapped and murdered in what Israel calls a Hamas attack. The murder of Abu Khdeir, 16, is widely seen as a revenge killing; Israeli forces arrested and are questioning Jewish extremists in the death.

The four families are forced to mourn their boys not only in public, but against the backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Several relatives are reaching beyond labels to offer condolences to each other.

Fraenkel's uncle called Abu Khdeir's father with a message of sorrow and outrage.

"We expressed our deep empathy with their sorrow, from one bereaved family to another bereaved family ... We expressed our absolute disgust with what had happened," Yishai Fraenkel told Ynet news.

"There is no difference between those who murdered Mohamed and those who murdered our children. Those are murderers, and these are murderers."

Meanwhile, Palestinian neighbors have visited the Fraenkel family's home to offer condolences. There is also talk of transforming an upcoming Jewish fasting day into an interfaith fasting day for Jews and Muslims to support ending violence.