The Tuesday release of police recordings from the night of the kidnapping of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach were revealing to say the least and raised several important questions about IDF and police protocol in response to reported abductions.
Ofir Shaer, father to Gil-Ad, held several phone conversations with police throughout the night in attempts to stir them to action, but despite his efforts and a short phone call from his son to police in which he said, “They’ve abducted us”, searches only began for the three boys some 10 hours after.
According to police reports, Ofir called the police hotline in Binyamin at 3:18am to report his son missing some five hours after the kidnapping. The emergency call receiver who spoke to Ofir contacted the civil defense center in Efrat and warned them of the report.
Shortly after, Ofir called a second time. “I want to know if, besides the police, the army is involved,” he said and stressed that his son could possibly have been abducted.
The emergency call receiver informed the police and at 4:58am contacted IDF headquarters in the region. “There’s not much we can do about it. We’ve informed all the checkpoints. Beyond that there’s nothing we can do,” was the answer from the IDF base.
“If we’re talking about one or two students from the Yeshiva then they probably stopped at a friend’s place to sleep,” continued the soldier. “I assume that in the morning things will be worked out,” she said after being told that the father was seriously worried.
Fifty-four telephone conversations occurred in the center in Efrat that night, but only at 5:06am the emergency call receiver connected a flustered and frightened Ofir to the IDF base – 7 hours after the kidnapping.
“Does the army understand that this is an emergency, that since 10pm the boys haven’t been answering their phones?” asked Ofir.
The soldier responded saying, “This will be worked out by the morning.”
Ofir insisted and asked, “Why isn’t the army in the picture?”
The IDF spokesperson addressed accusations of mishandling the situation saying, “From the moment the IDF was informed of the event, forces were sent to the area by the Division Operations Room, on the orders of the leader of the Etzion Brigade, Colonel Amit Yamin, who arrived for a meeting within half-an-hour.”
“From the moment that we were informed of the event, our forces have acted day and night to find the victims,” he concluded.
Ynet reporter Yoav Zitun added that the information arrived at Shin Bet headquarters sometime between 4:30am to 5:30am where officials began to take it seriously as a possible kidnapping.
Israel Police on Tuesday released a recording of the emergency call made by Gil-Ad Shaer shortly after his abduction in the West Bank on June 12.
At 10:25pm on Thursday, June 12, Shaer make his chilling call to the police’s 100 call center, saying “I’ve been kidnapped.” Then, yelling and gunfire, and a sigh of pain could be heard in the background.