Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu referred to his decision to appoint Yaron Blum as the new coordinator for issues concerning missing and captive Israelis. Speaking at the opening of today’s cabinet meeting, the prime minister said:
“I have decided to appoint Yaron Blum [...] to bring our boys home. He sees in this a national mission. He, personally was a member of a small staff that dealt with the issue of Gilad Shalit, and I think that he is the fitting man for this important mission.
“Before the appointment, I called the families, every one of them, and told them that I know, I understand them as parents and also as brothers, and I remember their sons. We understand our moral and human obligation to do everything possible to return them. I have no doubt that Yaron will contribute in this work, and will make a very important contribution to this holy mission.”
Nevertheless, The Almagor terror victims' organization on Saturday night expressed its disappointment over the appointment of Blum, calling it “good news for Hamas.”
“In the Shalit deal, Blum brought a huge achievement to Hamas with more than a thousand terrorists and murderers who were released, many of whom resumed terror activities and some of whom serve as Hamas commanders," the organization wrote.
Yossi Zur, father of Assaf Zur who was murdered in a bus bombing in Haifa in 2003 and whose murderers were released in the Shalit deal, said, "We did everything we could to convince [those in charge] that murderers should not be released from prison. My son's murderers sat in prison for eight and a half years for the murder of 17 Israelis, meaning six months for every person they murdered. In the military court where they were tried, they said openly, 'We will not sit in jail for the full term and as soon as we get out we will go back to murdering Israelis', and they are shamefully free. Then they promised that deals of the kind that was implemented six years ago would not happen again. So what if they promised? In 2013, they released another 76 murderers as a gesture to Secretary [John] Kerry."