Gil-ad Shaer

Gil-ad Michael Shaer, son of Bat-Galim and Ofir, was born on the 19th of Tevet 5758 (January 17, 1998) in Petach Tikvah.  He was a brother to five sisters, Shirel, Tahel, Meitar, Hallel and Maor.  Gil-ad grew up in Petach Tikvah and went to “Morasha”, a public religious school.  At the end of third grade the family moved to the community of Talmon in the Binyamin district of Samaria, and Gil-ad continued his studies at the local school, Ariel.

After eight grade he attended the yeshiva high school Mekor Haim in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion.  In addition to his studies, he was active in the Bnei Akiva youth movement, first as a participant and then as a counsellor, in the Ofarim branch near his home.

Gil-ad was a responsible, organized, mature, serious young man who was devoted to his studies, youth group, his friends and the sisters he loved with all his heart.  He also had a great zest for life and capacity for joy and a lighter side which enabled him to laugh and take pleasure in the small things of life.  Gil-ad enjoyed traveling and hiking in Israel, listening to music and organizing social gatherings.  He began to bake as a hobby, and he treated friends, family and neighbors to delicious treats shared with warmth and love.

On Thursday evening, the 15th of Sivan (June 12th, 2014), Gil-ad left the yeshiva to spend Shabbat at home with his family.  At the bus stop at the junction next to Kibbutz Alon Shvut a car with Israeli license plates stopped to offer him a ride along with two other young men, his fellow yeshiva student Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, a student at Shavei Hevron yeshiva.  The three boys got into the car and soon realized that the two men in the car were Arabs who had disguised themselves as Jews.  With amazing calm and poise, and without the men realizing, Gil-ad managed to phone the police and inform them that they had been kidnapped.

Operation “Shuvu ahim” – “Operation Brothers’ Keeper” was set into motion by the army to find the boys and bring them home.  During the period of waiting and searching, Jews of all backgrounds and beliefs, cultures and streams, from Israel and around the world, united in prayer and support to “bring back our boys”.

Eighteen days later, on Monday, the second of Tammuz (June 30, 2014) the boys’ bodies were found near Hevron. On Tuesday, the third of Tammuz (July 1, 2014) Gil-ad was laid to rest in a state ceremony with the other two boys in Modiin.  Gil-ad was sixteen and a half.  The funeral was attended by over almost two hundred thousand people. 

The expressions of unity continued in the weeks after the funeral, during Operation Tzuk Eitan in Gaza.

 Gil-ad and the three boys together were remembered  in many ways.