Bennet addressing caucus meeting
Bennet addressing caucus meeting Eliran Aharon

Education Minister Naftali Bennet (Jewish Home) participated in the opening session of the new Knesset caucus for the return of missing soldiers, and addressed the parents of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul:

"In July 2014, I participated in a Security Cabinet meeting, and I raised my hand and voted to send Hadar and Oron and other soldiers to the front lines. On July 18th, they crossed the border and went in to [Gaza] to protect the citizens of Israel.

"The Operation Protective Edge ground attack began on July 18th, and as far as I'm concerned, is not yet finished. It will end on the day when Hadar and Oron come home.

"The State of Israel has experienced similar situations in the past, and you [parents] stood at a crossroads and took a courageous decision. You could have said, 'We want you to free terrorists.' Those who preceded you did say that. 'Free the terrorists in order to bring the boys back home.' You chose the hard way when you could have chosen the easy way. You said, 'We don't want them to free terrorists.' You said, 'State of Israel: Please, pressure the [terror] organizations until they release the boys.' And precisely because you chose the hard way, we are all the more obligated. We have an obligation specific to this case, an educational obligation, and a military obligation.

"The specific obligation is that it is in our national interest to bring them home. So that if G-d forbid other parents face a similar dilemma, they will make the courageous choice; it's not self-understood.

"Educational obligation - and I say this as the Education Minister - we have a message of mutual responsibility, a basic value of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

"And militarily: The message is a simple one for all IDF soldiers - we never leave a comrade behind. It started in Unit 101, and was absorbed by the Paratroopers and the entire IDF.

"Therefore, in the name of the Israeli government, I repeat: We sent the boys on July 18th, 2014 into Gaza, it's our responsibility to bring the boys home. We will not rest until it happens." [Hebrew interview]

"הצבעתי בקבינט ושלחתי את הדר ואורון"