Parents of ‘hero’ officer who chased Goldin’s attackers into tunnel say he does not seek praise

The formerly American parents of an IDF officer who rushed into a terror tunnel in the Gaza Strip to pursue Hamas terrorists as they tried to abduct the body of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin say he is a modest, highly driven young man.

They add that he does not consider himself a hero, and is ill at ease with the high level of media attention his actions have brought on.

Susan and Simcha and their son Eitan, in Channel 2's studio on Monday August 4, 2014. (Screen capture illustration: Channel 2)
Susan and Simcha and their son Eitan, in the Channel 2 studio on Monday, August 4, 2014. (photo credit: Screen capture Channel 2)

The officer, identified by the army only as Lt. Eitan, was with the team that was attacked Friday in the southern Gaza city of Rafah by a suicide bomber and several gunmen. The attackers killed three soldiers — including Goldin — and escaped with the latter’s remains into the tunnel from which they had sprung.

Eitan, Yedioth Ahronoth reported today, took several soldiers and pursued the gunmen into the tunnel for hundreds of meters, against army regulations. The gunmen got away, but he found remains that helped the military rabbinate declare Goldin’s death and allowed Goldin to be brought to burial on Sunday.

“It’s very hard for him now,” Eitan’s mother, Suzi, tells Channel 2. “He feels that the story is that of the soldiers who were killed and not of himself. It was important for him to stress that the heroism was with his soldiers and officers — and not with him.”

Eitan’s father, Simcha, says he believes his son acted on instinct when rushing into the tunnel.

“We know him, we know Eitan. I suppose he found himself in a situation in which he had to make a decision in a split second… and that’s what he did,” surmises Simcha.

The two described their family as “religious, normal.”

“We taught our children that it is very important to give back to the community,” Simcha says. “All along, Eitan wanted to be a combat soldier, wanted to give back… to give all that he can.”

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