'I said to the Chief of Staff: I'm leaving with a limp'

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz participates in lobby meeting to return Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, '4500 trucks enter Gaza each day.'

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Mordechai Sones,

Simcha Goldin
Simcha Goldin
Hezki Baruch

Former head of the IDF Manpower Department, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Haggai Topolansky and the former Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, took part Tuesday in the conference held by the Knesset Lobby for the Return of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.

"Our commitment as a country, as commanders, is to return soldiers from wherever they are, dead or alive," said Topolansky. "The most important thing in the army is for a soldier to feel that the commander is 100 percent committed to him and that he is committed to the commander."

Topolansky warned, "The current situation is likely over time to erode the commitment of the State and the commanders to their soldiers."

Rabbi Peretz, who initiated the sitting of a special Rabbinical Court which determined the halakhic recognition of the death of Hadar and Oron, whose bodies are held by Hamas, told the Goldin family: "I was the one who came to your home and had to announce this bitter news."

"I left the army about a year ago, after seven years on the job, and I told the Chief of staff, 'I am leaving with a limp; many tasks we (the IDF Rabbinate, ed.) undertook were brought to a conclusion, but we have not completed this mission," referring to the return of the two soldiers' bodies.

The former Chief Rabbi said that in his role as an air force pilot in the reserves, he rescued pilots and forces from enemy territory: "I know well the look of a soldier that says, 'I knew you would come and get me. I also took the wounded, and I also took the dead, and their friends said, 'Well done, you brought our brothers home.'"

"I feel that we are a nation lacking something today," said Rabbi Peretz with pain, referring to the government's efforts to return the bodies held by Hamas. "I agree that there are things that are done secretly, but there are things that we see in public. We live on Route 232 and I see 400-500 trucks of supplies every day and I know exactly where they're going, and I hear about the prisoners who are released from the Israeli prisons - I hear about all kinds of things and I have nothing to say."

"We, as a nation, sent our sons out to war, we are committed to the boys returning home and we have to do everything possible [to live up to that committment]," he said. Today it feels as though they're not doing everything that can be done."



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