Lehigh Valley

Local memorial service held for Israeli teens found dead

Local memorial service held for Israeli teens found dead

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A memorial service was held in Allentown Wednesday night to honor three Israeli teenagers found dead in the West Bank this week.

People gathered at the Jewish Community Center of Allentown on Tilghman Street.

"We just want the people of Israel to know that we're united with them in our sad feelings and to let them know if Jewish kids can't feel safe in Israel, where can they feel safe?" said Ron Glickman of South Whitehall Township.

The three teens, one of whom was a dual Israeli-American citizen, were abducted a few weeks ago while hitchhiking home from school. Their bodies were found Monday.

Israeli officials believe Hamas is behind it.

"I think any human being thinks it's just horrible just to think about the situation," said Yonit Waldner Peleg, who is visiting from Israel as part of a partnership program with the local Jewish community.

She said she was touched by the show of support.

"For me, it was very special to see the reaction of a Jewish community elsewhere," she said. "That is always touching, when people take the time to acknowledge that something horrible has happened and especially when those people feel a real connection."

Yaron Sideman, the Consul General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region, spoke at the service.

"We will find the murderous terrorists who killed our boys but did not kill their spirits or ours," he said.

Tensions in the region continue to rise. A Palestinian teenager was found dead in Jerusalem Wednesday, leading to accusations it was retaliation for the deaths of three Israelis.

Those at the memorial service said they equally condemn that murder.

Waldner Peleg said, "Although things are complicated and are very difficult to understand from the outside, we do all strive for peace."

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