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South Florida Man Related To Slain Teen In Israel

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s a heartbreaking day in Israel as three murdered teens are laid to rest.  They were kidnapped and killed while hitchhiking home from school in the West Bank more the two weeks ago.  Their bodies were found Monday and that pain of loss stretches around the world to South Florida.

“When that information hit yesterday, it hurt!” said David Halberstam, the cousin of one of the victims. “I hurt real bad.”

Halberstam lives in Hollywood.  His cousin is 16-year old Naftali Frenkel.  Halberstam, like the Israeli government, believes Hamas is behind the deadly abductions.

Three Israeli teens' bodies were located.  (Source: CBS)

(Source: CBS)

“I think the question you ask is why,” he said. “I know the other side, Hamas, they have a crippling legacy of butchery and heartless savagery.”

The Israeli military detonated explosives in one suspect’s home and hit dozens of terror targets in Gaza.

That comes as more than a dozen rockets were fired at Southern Israel.

Jewish leaders in South Florida are hoping to change the focus – at least for today.

“They were three innocent children,” said Rabbi Andrew Jacobs of Ramat Shalom in Plantation.  “When I look at them, I see my kids.  When I look at their mothers, I look at my wife.  When I look at their families I see myself and so many other people. This has just hit so close to home.”

Rabbi Jacobs is holding a memorial service Tuesday night  at 8:00 p.m .

“We need to mourn,” he said. “We need to allow ourselves to feel the sadness, the hurt in order to move forward with strength from this moment.”

Frenkel’s cousin hopes this violence can someday lead to something good.

“I think that extremism, fanaticism, is the vexation to the peace on earth,” said Halberstam. “It’s just so sad that these things occur and we can’t live in this beautiful world better.”

The service will be at Ramat Shalom at 11301 W. Broward Blvd.

WATCH Ted Scouten’s report. 

There is also a memorial service Wednesday at Brauser Mamonizes Academy at 5300 SW 40th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.  It begins at 5:30 p.m.

Click here to view a “Letter of Condolence” sent by Jewish Federations across the country.

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