UPPER WEST SIDE (PIX11)-- Hundreds attended a memorial service on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the three slain Israeli teens. It was attended by elected officials, family and strangers.
Manny Halberstam can't believe his cousin is gone. 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel was one of three Israeli teens found murdered in the West Bank.
Before attending Tuesday night's service at The Jewish Center on the Upper West Side, Halberstam spoke PIX11. He said his second cousin would have likely had kids, and that he would have shared his passion for music with them.
The Upper West Side service was standing room only. Elected officials, and members of the community called for justice for the teens who's bodies were reportedly found in a shallow grave.
"It could have been one of our children," Senator Charles Schumer said.
Halberstam said their deaths were not in vain.
"The message that I really want to send the world right now is all the efforts and all the time and energy that went into bring back our boys campaign," Halberstam said.
He can only now think of what his cousin could have been.
Halberstam also told us his family is infinitely grateful for all the love and support they've received. It has helped them keep their spirits high during this very very difficult time, and it's given them a sense of faith in humanity..
It was a National Day of mourning in Israel. There was a massive crowd at the teen's joint funeral that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The teens bodies were wrapped in Israeli flags.
"The whole nation prayed for the boys to come home and the whole nation saw the nobility of spirit," Netanyahu said.
On Monday, the boys were reportedly found in a shallow grave in the West Bank.
Authorities had been searching for 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach, 16-year-old Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship. The search lasted more than two weeks.
On Monday, the boys were found in a shallow grave in the West Bank in an open field. For more than two weeks, the world held out hope for these boys. Our hearts were all broken when word spread that their bodies were found, and that they had been apparently shot.
The mourners carried flags and heavy hearts.