The father of the fallen IDF lieutenant Hadar Goldin on Friday accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of breaking a promise to return his son’s remains from Gaza.
Simha Goldin’s son was killed in the 2014 war in Gaza, as was First Sgt. Oron Shaul. The remains of both soldiers are still held by the Hamas terror group.
“Liberman is sentencing us to 50 years of suffering,” Simha Goldin said during a memorial service for his son, claiming the defense minister had told him he may have to wait decades for his son’s body to be returned.
“Two days after the last Memorial Day for IDF fallen soldiers, Liberman told us, the Goldin family and the Shaul family, that Hadar and Oron will wait [for their return], just as Eli Cohen waits for his return to Israel, just as those who perished in the Dakar submarine waited,” he said.
Eli Cohen was hanged by Syria as an Israeli spy on May 18, 1965, and despite decades of efforts, his body has still not been returned by the Syrians. The Dakar submarine sank in January 1968 with 69 Israeli crew on board. The wreckage was only found in 1999.
In addition to the two soldiers’ remains, Hamas in Gaza is presumed to be holding alive three Israeli men who wandered into the Strip separately in recent years. The Palestinian terror group has reportedly been engaged in indirect talks with Israel over a possible prisoner swap deal that would see Israel release Hamas prisoners in exchange for the three and Goldin’s and Shaul’s bodies.
Goldin said that Liberman had been invited to attend the memorial service, but chose to stay away. He reminded the defense minister of his promise, made before taking up office, to bring back the body of his son within 48 hours.
“The defense minister must know that when he acts, whether against pressuring Hamas or against an agreement, he actually acts against the values that are the essence of the nation’s army,” he said.
Goldin also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of failing to keep his promise to bring back his son’s remains.
“There was a guarantee by the state to bring them to burial in Israel,” Goldin said. “There was a promise from the ministers and the prime minister.
“We need leadership. It is what steers the country. Unfortunately I am ashamed of the behavior of our leaders,” he said. “The leaders of Israel, headed by the prime minister and the defense minister, the two leaders who send and bring back soldiers from the battlefield, have abandoned Hadar and Oron time and again.”
Hundreds of people took part in the memorial service marking the third anniversary of Goldin’s death, at the Kfar Saba military cemetery. They included Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan; Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit; former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, a relative of the Goldins; and former Labor Party Knesset member Shachiv Shanan, whose son Kamil was one of two policemen killed in the Temple Mount terror attack on July 14.