Couple marries after meeting at funeral of three murdered youth

The two, teenagers at the time, came in a show of unity with the bereaved families. They married five years later.

 By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two teenagers who were moved to attend the funeral of three yeshiva boys, who had been kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists five years ago, recently got married, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

On July 1, thousands came to pay their final respects – including Roey and Michal, two teens from Haifa – after the grisly murder of three boys that shook the nation. Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frankel (16) and Gilad Shaer (16) were hitchhiking on June 12, 2014 when they caught a ride with Hamas terrorists looking for victims.

The teenagers’ bodies were found 18 days later, after a massive search by the Israel Defense Forces and civilian teams. The murders were one of the factors that led to Operation Protective Edge, a military operation launched by the IDF on July 8, 2014.

An extraordinary wave of unity swept the country during those suspenseful days of uncertainty over the boys’ fate, with people of every background and degree of religious belief coming together to express their support for the children’s families.

Funeral of three boys

Thousands of people attended the funeral for the three murdered Jewish teens on July 1, 2014. (Flash90/Miriam/Alster)

Roey and Michal. didn’t know each other, even though they would later discover they had grown up in the same Haifa neighborhood. Instead, they bumped into each other on the train to Jerusalem the day of the funeral when Michal couldn’t get into the same car as her friends because the train was so crowded with funeral-goers.

“Suddenly, by chance, I saw an acquaintance who was a leader of a Bnei Akiva chapter, and I joined her,” she told the paper.

The other girl was traveling with Roey, who was a counselor in the same youth movement and had decided to represent his local group at the funeral. Although they only said “hello” when they were introduced, the other girl’s phone battery died during the funeral and she gave Roey’s phone number to Michal so they could stay in touch.

“It all started from the fact that I was looking for a guy who would ride with me on the way back to the train [home],  because of the fear of the danger of hitchhiking alone at the time,” Michal said. Roey came with her, and “five years later we found ourselves under the wedding canopy.”

When they told the boys’ families about the wedding and how it came about, it added another positive aspect to the way Bat-Galim and Ofer Shaer, the parents of Gilad, have chosen to channel their pain, the paper reports.

In the wake of the murders, the couple established the SonShine Foundation, which undertakes projects “to strengthen the bonds between Israeli and Diaspora Jewry.”