'I've been keeping myself in check for four years'

'We hear only spins: MKs don't lift a finger, cabinet members don't implement their decisions, and ministers don't stand by their word.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Goldins at press conference
Goldins at press conference
Flash 90

IDF soldier Hadar Goldin was killed and dragged into a terror tunnel by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge and his commander, Eitan Fund, who heroically tried to rescue him, attended the meeting of the Lobby to Return Missing Soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul which took place on Tuesday..

Fund said angrily, "I've been keeping myself in check for almost four years because I believe in the Prime Minister, in the country, in the army, but I've had enough. I'm ashamed to sit here again today. This is a failure for all of us, from me all the way to the Prime Minister."

"Enough excuses - we failed," Fund added. "That is what I expect every public official to say. The IDF gave me the medal of honor, but we abandoned the battlefield and have gone astray ... I'm expected to sacrifice my life, and rightly so, but where have our values gone today? Enough stories of glory from the past; tell us what to do tomorrow morning."

At the beginning of the conference, Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) apologized for being forced to leave the hall. Hadar Goldin's father, Prof. Simcha Goldin, demanded that he stay and hear criticism of the government.

MK Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home), an IDF widow who chairs the lobby, said, "We owe the Shaul and Goldin families answers - to tell them what we will do to bring their sons home. Recently, data have been published showing that less than half of our youth don't enlist in the IDF. This figure should be of concern to all of us, and it is clear that these issues are interrelated."

Former Defense Minister MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) said at the conference that "at a time when there are new winds blowing in Egypt, internal Palestinian reconciliation, and the President of the United States is a true friend, we must leverage this opportunity so that the Palestinian reconciliation government not receive international recognition without return of the soldiers."

Yigal Namimi, Zahava Shaul's brother, turned to Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan and said, "Internal Palestinian reconciliation is an opportunity that we must exploit. Eleven terrorists have already been released from prison - but Hadar and Oron are still there. How can you look me in the eye?"

Danny Zamir, Executive Director of the Pre-Military School Policy Council, called for a demonstration: "We have to take to the streets. This is not a struggle of the Shaul and Goldin families. We must force the government to make decisions, without cheap populism, so that it will bring the boys home."

"Our commitment as a country, as commanders, is to return soldiers from wherever they are, dead or alive," said Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolansky, the former head of the IDF Personnel Directorate. "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."

Professor Simcha Goldin, father of Hadar Hy"d (may G-d avenge his blood, ed.), excoriated MK MK Avi Dichter of the Likud, saying, "Stop selling us that the price [for returning the bodies] will rise because of us. Because of this behavior there is a drop in the number of recruits to combat service."

Goldin said at the conference that "three-and-a-half years have passed since the abduction, but from the Israeli government we hear only spins. Knesset Members whose job it is to criticize the government don't lift a finger, cabinet members don't implement their decisions, and ministers don't stand by their word.

"The decision of Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg, handed down this morning, states that the State's response to the petition we submitted is false and misleading. The State is trying to mislead the Supreme Court as well as the Shaul and Goldin families, and all soldiers who are to be drafted in the future.

"We're all entitled to a clear answer - is a Prime Minister and cabinet minister who sends IDF soldiers into battle also responsible for bringing them home? It is clear to us that all the cabinet decisions from January are not implemented."

According to Prof. Goldin, "This government headed by Netanyahu surrenders to terrorism every day anew. It releases terrorists, transfers bodies of terrorists for burial, and enables terrorists and their families to benefit from Israel's advanced medical system, bypassing Israeli citizens waiting in line. All these gestures are made by the government without any stipulation for the boys' return."

"We demand that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the ministers of the political-security cabinet stop lying and start implementing and delivering. This is the only way to change the equation with Hamas," emphasized Goldin.

Brigadier General (res.) Rafi Peretz, former Chief IDF Rabbi and head of the Atzmona preparatory program, said: "As a helicopter pilot, I rescued and saved many fighters, some of them in complicated and complex operations. The expressions of gratitude of those we saved is unforgettable because it was always accompanied by the statement: 'I knew they would come to rescue me.'"

"In this case there's a mission that has not been completed. They are still there," Rabbi Peretz said. "When I see hundreds of trucks entering Gaza every day, when the State knows to whom they're going, how can we say that we did everything to bring them back?"