Israel Adopts #BringBackOurBoys for Teenagers Kidnapped in the West Bank

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The search for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers who went missing in the West Bank is being accompanied by #BringBackOurBoys, a social media campaign that has quickly gone viral.

Inspired by the campaign that brought attention to the plight of a large group of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls (who still remain captive), the efforts are putting pressure on American, Israeli, and Palestinian politicians to work to secure the release of the teenage boys, who disappeared while hitchhiking last week — a situation complicated by the fact that more than one group has claimed responsibility.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly placed the blame on the terrorist group Hamas and ordered an arrest operation in the West Bank, where the boys are believed to be held. The crisis also prompted the first conversation between Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in over a year. (Abbas condemned both the abduction and the assertive Israeli efforts to find the captors.)

The abduction has galvanized the Israeli public, bringing together the normally fractious segments of the population for rallies and prayer sessions. On Sunday, an estimated 25,000 Israelis gathered in Jerusalem for one such prayer rally.

As with all campaigns, the effort is not without its problems.

The hashtag has also been appropriated by (pro-)Palestinian activists to draw attention to the issue of young Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails.

Just minutes ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a national address at the end of the fourth day since the kidnapping. In it, he warned an operation to retrieve the teenagers may take time. He also implored the international community to condemn the kidnapping.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.