Occasionally Iris Yifrah, the mother of murdered 19 year-old Eyal Yifrah, still sends WhatsApp messages to her son's cell phone – one year after he was kidnapped.
"I always message him, keep him up to date," she stated, in a special interview to Yediot Aharonot due to be published Friday. "I have a one-way WhatsApp conversation with him."
"The 'was last seen' line will always say June 12, 2014, but there are always two check marks indicating that my message was received."
The mothers of fellow murdered teens Naftali Frankel and Gilad Sha'ar agree.
"Naftali is in my prayers," Rachel Frankel, Naftali's mother, said. "During the day, I can't move on until I see a strong vision of his face."
"I'm constantly talking to Gilad," a teary-eyed Bat-Galim Sha'ar added. "I ask him to take care of us. And from God, who keeps me safe, to keep him safe and have it be good for him up there."
"It's especially noticeable lack of family gatherings, when the extended family gathers and Eyal's chair is empty," Yifrah said. "There's just a hole here. It's particularly difficult for his little sisters."
"I see his face in pictures, feel how far he is from me," she added.
"We miss Gilad in the kitchen," Sha'ar adds. "He loved to cook, and made a lot of delicious things. I used to love to cook, now everything reminds me of him […] Gilad isn't with us, even on Shabbat and holidays."
"So I cry a lot," she continued. "It feels right to me and it's important that the girls know that it's okay to cry and get out the pain."
"We have received letters from friends of Naftali," Frankel noted. "I put off reading them for special times, because such letters can knock me out for two days."
"A few months ago I opened a letter, and the author wrote about Naftali things that might have been among others a bit critical – he is probably too young to understand how to write a mother who lost her son," she added. "But for me it was actually great, because that's what I needed. There were a letter to beauty and truth, that I knew through my son."
The three boys were kidnapped last year in Gush Etzion by Hamas terrorists as they attempted to get rides home from school and were murdered that night. An 18-day search ensued, uniting the often-fragmented Israeli society and Jews of all sects around the world in prayer for their safe return.