Slain soldier's parents:
'Liberman is a coward'

Parents of soldier held by Hamas say Defense Minister is too 'cowardly' to pressure Hamas to return their son's body.

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Yoni Kempinski,

Simcha and Leah Goldin
Simcha and Leah Goldin
Yoni Kempinski

Simcha and Leah Goldin, the parents of of slain IDF Sgt. Hadar Goldin, accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of being a "coward" at a press conference at their home in Kfar Saba Sunday.

Hadar Goldin was killed by Hamas terrorists during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The terrorists violated a humanitarian ceasefire when they attacked Goldin's position. Hamas has illegally held Goldin's body in Gaza since the 2014 conflict.

Hadar's parents stated at the press conference that the Defense Minister was not applying pressure on Hamas to return their son's body because he is "weak and cowardly."

They criticized Liberman's statement that the Shamgar report must be adopted in its entirety before a replacement is appointed for Lt. Gen. (Res.) Lior Lotan, who handed in his resignation after three years in which he served as Prime Minister Netanyahu's representative on matters of captives and the missing-in-action.

"A defense minister who says what he said today - has no moral right to make decisions, to command an army, or to lead [troops into] battle," Simcha Goldin said.

"This morning, the Defense Minister asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to appoint a new coordinator for the issue of the POWs and MIAs.

"I would like to relate to the matter itself. Israel's policy regarding POWs and MIAs has always been determined by the Prime Minister, ever since the establishment of the state. It is the responsibility and authority that comes with the job. I appeal to Prime Minister Netanyahu: We must appoint an immediate coordinator for the affairs of the POWs and MIAs. We must not abandon Hadar and Oron for even one day."

Oron Shaul was killed during Operation Protective Edge when the armored vehicle he was in was hit by a missile, killing all seven soldiers inside. Hamas claimed he was captured alive, but although his death was later confirmed by the IDF, his body has not been returned.

The parents addressed Netanyahu with a clear message: "You must preserve the values ​​of the IDF and bring back Hadar and Oron."

"Our son is not a deal. I ask all the political forces: Don't turn Hadar, who was a hero, into [something that has] a price. Our lives are not something which we can talk about in terms of market value. From day one we demanded that [the government] change the equation and put pressure on Hamas."

According to Goldin's parents, the statement published by Defense Minister Liberman shows that he has adopted their view in theory, if not in practice. "Liberman is actually adopting our approach and wants to change the equation for agreements with enemies. We also share the view that the State of Israel has previously signed inflated agreements [in which it gave back too many terrorists for one or very few prisoners]."

"Without pressure on Hamas we will never reach the 'Promised Land', Liberman knows our position very well. But he does not adopt it because the State of Israel has a cowardly defense minister. He is good at talking but weak when it comes to action. Don't return the bodies of Hamas terrorists. Immediately halt all visits to prisoners in jail. Gentlemen, it's time put an end to this summer camp [for terrorists]."