Ya'alon: We'll Respond Firmly to Terrorism

Defense Minister meets First Lieutenant Eitan Fund, who selflessly pursued the terrorists who kidnapped the body of Hadar Goldin.

Hezki Baruch ,

Ya'alon with First Lt. Eitan and his wife
Ya'alon with First Lt. Eitan and his wife
Miri Tzahi

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon vowed on Monday that Israel would firmly respond to terrorism and will not allow its citizens to be harmed.

Ya’alon was speaking at a ceremony at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, in which the annual Begin Prize was awarded to recipients. The Begin Prize is given to a person or organized body who accomplished an  extraordinary act or acts for the benefit of the State of Israel and/or the Jewish People.

One of the recipients of this year’s award is First Lieutenant Eitan Fund, who selflessly pursued a group of terrorists who killed and took the body of Lt. Hadar Goldin through a Hamas terror tunnel.

While Fund did not find Goldin’s body, he did locate the findings that enabled the IDF’s Chief Rabbinate to declare Goldin dead. Monday’s ceremony was the first time that Fund had met Ya’alon, who is a close relative of Goldin.

"We are not warmongers, and as someone who has been fighting from a young age and has experienced the loss of commanders, friends and subordinates, I know the agony of war and its costs. But we must not delude ourselves. As we saw just this past weekend, we are surrounded by organizations and entities seeking to disrupt our lives in different ways, and they do not want peace with us,” the Defense Minister said at the ceremony, referring to the latest rocket attack on southern Israel on Friday.

"We will not be deterred. We will respond forcefully and firmly to any attempt to harm Israeli citizens. We will not allow attempted terrorist attacks, or what is described as ‘trickling rocket fire’. Anyone who thinks about firing at Israel and harming its citizens should know that we will work anytime and anywhere to get our hands on him,” added Ya’alon.

Ya’alon also had some words for Fund and the other recipients of the Begin Prize, which included Lieutenant Colonel Roi Levy, commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion of the Golani Brigade and the families of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah, the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered by terrorists this past summer.

"Our values distinguish the IDF soldiers and commanders in the air, sea and land, fighters and combat supporters, whose special spirits were manifested this past summer during Operation Protective Edge, when they joined in battle to restore calm to the south,” Ya’alon said. “These values are embodied in Lieutenant Colonel Roi Levy, commander of the Golani Brigade Reconnaissance Battalion, who led his fighters into the war on terror, rocket and mortar attacks and offensive tunnels. Roi was critically wounded during the fighting, and returned to his battalion.”

He continued, "These values are also embodied in First Lieutenant Eitan Fund of the Givati Brigade, who without hesitation and in a determined fashion pursued the kidnappers of his friend, Hadar Goldin of blessed memory. The torch that Roi, Eitan and his friends are carrying they received from previous generations and will pass it on to future generations.”