Motti Yogev
Motti YogevFlash 90

MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home), who serves as a member of the Knesset's Diplomatic-Security Cabinet, spoke to Arutz Sheva about bringing the captive and missing Israelis back to Israel and the appointment of Yaron Blum as the government's new coordinator for the issue.

Hamas has been holding the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul since 2014's Operation Protective Edge. In addition, two Israeli civilians who went missing in Gaza - Avera (Avraham) Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed - are believed to be held by Hamas as well.

According to Yogev, the previous coordinator, Lior Lotan, continued dealing with these matters even after he announced his resignation two months ago.

"Lotan did not shake off the responsibility for one second from the time he resigned until Yaron Blum was appointed to replace him. I estimate that he will continue to take responsibility for the matter in the future, as well," Yogev said.

He also noted that "the fact that Yaron Blum was involved in the Shalit deal does not necessarily mean that he will act similarly in this case as well."

Regarding the "Shamgar report," Yogev said that there are no rules and each coordinator examines the information he has together with an intelligence officer and officials from Mossad, Shabak (Israel Security Agency), IDF, and the Prime Minister's Office.

The Shamgar report discussed whether and how to conduct and conclude negotiations, as well as on the boundaries of such negotiations and who the relevant determining authorities are.

"In any case, the government examines all the information as well as the various options for bringing the captives and bodies home," he said. "The State of Israel and the Jewish nation do not for one second abandon those they sent, and work with great sensitivity towards the families. But we can't always discuss the efforts being made [to return those being held]. Many times, the team is caught between a rock and a hard place, between their unseen efforts and the families pressuring them. We must not judge."

"Israel must base itself on moral anchors, such as the question of price:. We must not redeem the captives for more than their worth, so that our enemies will not learn to kidnap more in order to hold prisoner swaps.

"This is especially true since at the end of the day, every terrorist that is freed goes back to murdering people.

"All of the moral questions which come up when a soldier is captured, or when there are missing people who must be brought back to Israel for burial - these are all good questions which need to be part of the public discourse. But I believe that we need to use good judgement and evaluate the situation matter-of-factly. We cannot be fixed on one thing or another.

"The Shamgar report is important, but at the end of the day, we need to evaluate each situation individually in order to bring the missing and captured people home to Israel. I hope that with God's help, we will have more information during Yarom Blum's tenure, and we will be able to bring our sons home."