Hadar Goldin, kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza on Friday morning, and whose death was announced by the IDF on Saturday night, was a Givati Brigade officer who was engaged to get married.
Two other Givati Brigade soldiers were killed in the same attack — Major Benaya Sarel, 26, from Kiryat Arba, and 1st.-Sgt. Liel Gidoni, 20, from Jerusalem. One terrorist blew himself up near the group, while other gunmen kidnapped Goldin and escaped into a tunnel.
2nd Lt. Goldin, 23, was one of four children, and was raised for part of his childhood in England while his parents taught at Cambridge University. He got engaged, to Edna, just weeks before Operation Protective Edge sent him to the Gaza Strip.
Goldin’s family also comprises his mother Hedva, his father Simha, his twin Tzur and his siblings Ayelet and Menahem.
Father Simha had told media outside their Kfar Saba home late Friday afternoon that he was “sure the army will not let up for a moment and will turn over every stone in Gaza to bring back Hadar safe and sound.” Before receiving the news of his death late Saturday, the family had called a press conference at their home to plead with the IDF not to leave him behind in Gaza.
Simha, an officer in the IDF reserves, is a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University, where he teaches Jewish history and heads the Diaspora Research Center. He wrote a book about Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg, a French 13-century rabbi famous for, among other things, not allowing his community to bail him out when the authorities jailed him. To this day, this precedent is cited in halachic arguments about pidyon shvuyim, or redeeming captives.
Goldin’s family is reportedly distantly related to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. The family, who are modern Orthodox, raised Goldin to love his people and his country, as he told Israel National News in an October 2013 interview upon finishing his officer’s training — which he completed along with twin brother, Tzur.
“In life, you can choose to do things for yourself and you can choose to do great things,” Hadar said of his motivation to become an officer.
He added that both his grandfathers were Holocaust survivors who participated in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.
The twins, Hadar and Tzur, went to school in Kfar Saba together, studied together for exams, attended the Beit David premilitary academy in Eli together, became combat soldiers at the same time — although they didn’t serve in the same unit — and later were trained as officers together.
“We think everyone should know how to give of oneself, not necessarily in combat but in any area,” they said in the joint October interview. “You must always be prepared to carry the stretcher together (in other words, to shoulder the burden), out of a commitment to the people and the country.”
The two added that on their weekends at home, they would study Talmud together and go on hikes. They said they hoped they could continue to coordinate their vacations after becoming officers, too.