Yaakov Naftali Fraenkel was the son of Rachelle and Avi Fraenkel from Nof Ayalon. Although Naftali was born in Jerusalem, he was a citizen of both the Israel and the US, through his maternal grandparents who came on aliyah in the 1950's. A student at the Mekor Chaim yeshiva, he was a typical teenager, who loved sports, especially basketball, and music.
On 12 June 2014, he and 2 friends, Gilad Shear and Eyal Yifrah were kidnapped by a small group of Palestinian terrorists as they were hitchhiking home from Gush Etzion where they studied. Despite an intensive search for the three by the IDF, nationwide prayers, and international pleas, on 30 June search teams found the bodies of the three missing teenagers in a field north-west of Hevron. All three were buried in the Modi'in cemetery on July 1. Naftali, who was 16 at the time of his death, is survived by his parents, grandparents, and 6 siblings. Rachelle Fraenkel's parents, Frieda and Prof. Shmuel Sprecher, came on aliyah in the 1950's from Brooklyn; Prof. Sprecher was among the first faculty members at Bar Ilan University. Avi's father, Professor Aviezri Fraenkel, was born in Germany and is a noted mathematician. He was a recipient of the Israel Prize in 2007 for his role in founding the Bar Ilan Responsa Project (the Global Jewish Database).