Intel Jerusalem General Manager Yishai Fraenkel is a veteran figure on Israel's high tech scene. Since Friday morning he has been a desperately worried uncle, fearing for the fate of his nephew Naftali Frankel who was kidnapped Thursday night along with Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar. Yishai's brother Avi is Naftali's father and both brothers and their families live at Nof Ayalon near Modiin. Only 10 days ago all the family gathered together to celebrate the 85th birthday of Naftali's grandfather.
How can you carry on as a senior manager in a high tech firm with this terrible worry about the fate of the children?
"When I understood what had happened I phoned my boss Mooly Eden (Intel Israel President) and told him that I need to lower my profile. He and everyone else at Intel have shown understanding. Intel is a supportive place to work and they are allowing me to concentrate for now on helping the family. I have received many calls and messages of support and solidarity from Intel people in Israel and around the world. So for the time being I'm with the family all the time. We're supporting each other and getting updates from the security forces. I suppose that if this situation carries on for long, I'll need slowly to return to some kind of routine."
Fraenkel's five own children aged 9-21 are taking it hard. "They are coping with a painful reality and each different age takes it in their own way. It is important to remember that Naftali is their cousin, friend and neighbor. It is not easy for any of them."
Despite all the heartache one of Fraenkel's children still turned up to take the biology matriculation exam yesterday.
Fraenkel is known as someone who has worked hard to integrate Palestinians and Haredim into Israeli high tech.
He said, "It's true for years I've pushed with all my strength for these two very important initiatives. We have succeeded in integrating over 100 Ultra-Orthodox men and women in various jobs at Intel. We also work with Palestinian software houses in the Ramallah region. This is a very important activity for Intel and it is close to my heart. I have to say that since the kidnapping I have received no few messages of support and encouragement from Palestinian sources that for understandable reasons I cannot elaborate on too much. People have sent me mails and phoned. They told me that they are repulsed by the kidnapping of young boys, 'You don't kidnap children' they tell me. They say they are praying for the boys' welfare. The truth is it has warmed my heart to get these messages."
What would you say to Naftali if you could?
I'd hug him and ask him to be strong. That he should know that the entire people of Israel stand all the time with him and Gilad and Eyal. I would tell him that all the security forces are turning everything upside down to find them. We haven't forgotten them for a second and there is no way we will forget them."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 17, 2014
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014