J.J. Goldberg

'911' Call From Kidnapped Youth Ignored as Prank

By J.J. Goldberg

  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s police emergency line received a desperate call from one of the three youths kidnapped near Kibbutz Kfar Etzion Thursday night, but dismissed it as a prank call and failed to report it to the military. Only four and a half hours later, when a relative of one of the boys showed up at a police station to report a missing person, did police officials alert the military, triggering an all-hands search.

As a result, four and a half hours were lost in a search and rescue operation in which every additional hour lengthens the odds of success. The emergency call came in at 10:25 p.m. The relative, variously reported as either a father or a brother, went to the police at 3:00 a.m.

The emergency call was rumored on social networks as early as Saturday, but was only cleared for publication by the military censor on Sunday. National police commissioner Yohanan Danino told a press conference that the delay in sounding the alarm would be investigated, but cautioned that the urgent priority right now was not to cast blame but to find the kidnapped youths.

Danino himself had just returned from New York, where he was to have attended an international police conference. His failure to return to Israel until Sunday afternoon, almost three days after the kidnapping, has touched off a scandal of its own that seems likely to bring his downfall.

According to press reports, a police operator on the 100 line, Israel’s equivalent of 911, received the call at 10:25 and heard a male voice whispering “They’re kidnapping us” and repeating it twice. (Some reports quote the call as “They’ve kidnapped me” or “we’ve been kidnapped.”) The call continued for another two minutes during which shouting and jostling could be heard before the line went dead.

Ynet.com reported, based on Internal Security Ministry sources, that the operator who received the call immediately notified a superior officer, and that several officers listened several times and tried unsuccessfully to call back before deciding it was a prank call.

Separately, Ynet.com reported on Saturday that an Israeli reported having picked up two of the boys and driven them part of the way before dropping them off and warning them that they were courting danger. The driver reported his involvement to the police on Saturday. A radio news broadcast later reported, without attribution, that the driver was frantic with guilt that he hadn’t driven them all the way into Israeli territory before finishing his errands.

The two are assumed to have been Naftali Frenkel and Gil-Ad Shaer, both 16, who study at Mekor Haim yeshiva high school in Kfar Etzion, a veteran settlement in administered territory just south of Jerusalem. The third kidnap victim, Eyal Yifrach, 19, studies at Shavei Hebron yeshiva in the southern West Bank city and is assumed to have been kidnapped with the other two by chance.

The driver, who hasn’t been identified, told Ynet that he dropped off his wife at a supermarket and then went to pick up his son, taking a bypass road to avoid traffic lights. En route he encountered the two boys around 7 p.m. He told them he could take them as far as his turnoff and warned them that it was getting dark and the area was dangerous, but they dismissed the danger and assured him it would be fine. He then drove them as far as his turnoff and left them by the highway.

It was just over three hours later, at 10:25 p.m., that the call came to Police Line 100.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yohanan Danino, Ynet, Shavei Hebron, Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, Mekor Haim, Kfar Etzion, Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.