Marking 8 years son’s body held by Hamas, Goldins to march from Kfar Saba to Gaza

Family calls on public to join them in rally, says current government following path of previous ones in doing nothing to return Hadar, Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed

Bereaved parents of Hadar Goldin and other family members and supporters gather outside the state memorial ceremony for Operation Protective Edge at Mount Herzl on July 23, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Bereaved parents of Hadar Goldin and other family members and supporters gather outside the state memorial ceremony for Operation Protective Edge at Mount Herzl on July 23, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Goldin family plans to march from their home in central Israel to the Gaza border next week, in order to mark eight years since the body of their son was taken captive by Hamas.

Hadar Goldin, the son of Leah and Simcha Goldin, was killed while fighting in the 2014 Gaza war, along with Oron Shaul. The soldiers’ bodies have been held by Hamas ever since. Leah and Simcha, who will be joined by supporters as they embark on their march next Wednesday, August 3, also call for the release of Avera Mengistu, an Israeli civilian whose family says he suffers from mental illness. Mengistu snuck under the security fence into Gaza in 2014, and he has been held there ever since.

The organizers notably left out any reference to Hisham al-Sayed, who entered Gaza under similar circumstances to those of Mengistu. Last month, Hamas released video footage of al-Sayed, claiming his health was deteriorating in an apparent effort to jump-start long-stalled negotiations for a prisoner exchange with Israel.

The march organizers say that next week’s three-day demonstration will be their latest effort to implore the government to act in order to bring home the bodies of the fallen soldiers, along with the two civilians held captive by Hamas.

“For eight straight years, Israeli governments have given up on the fighters Oron and Hadar,” organizers said in a statement. “The current government, like its predecessors, behaves with laziness and moral bankruptcy toward its own people, while every day more and more terrorists are released [from prisons], Gazan workers come in and out [of Israel], and materials needed for the reconstruction of the [Hamas] tunnel network flow like water, while the government does not use any pressure levers or sanctions to harden positions against the arch terrorist [Hamas leader] Yahya Sinwar.”

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister Naftali Bennett, and Prime Minister Yair Lapid have all averred the importance of working to return Mengistu and al-Sayed, and the bodies of Goldin and Shaul, but little progress has been made.

Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham al-Sayed. (Flash90/Courtesy)

Lapid held a meeting on his first day in office on July 1 to discuss the issue of the Israelis held captive and missing in action, but no new developments followed.

The Goldin family have been consistently and publicly vocal on the issue, meeting regularly with local and international politicians and begging for the return of their son’s body.

Organizers of the march called on all organizations representing veterans and bereaved families along with the entire public to join the Goldin family next week. The march will be divided into several segments and participants are slated to arrive at the Gaza border on Friday. The distance between Kfar Saba and the northern Gaza border is roughly 52 miles (some 84 kilometers).

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