Leah Goldin, mother of Lt. Hadar Goldin whose body has been held by Hamas since 2014, on Saturday night criticized the conduct of the political echelon and of Yaron Blum, the government coordinator for prisoners and missing persons.
Speaking in an interview with Channel 12 News, Goldin accused Blum of deceiving the Goldin and Shaul families. Hamas has also been holding the body of Oron Shaul, another IDF soldier, since the counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
"Hadar has been in the hands of Hamas for 5 years and 3 months, Oron too, and there has consistently been a policy of abandoning the soldiers, they are just not returning them," she said. "A week ago, when a terrorist's body was returned, Hamas wrapped it in a flag and this is the biggest scandal because in January 2017 the Cabinet decided not to return the bodies of Hamas terrorists. This was only made public in retrospect; it’s always done under the radar. We approached the Supreme Court. We went through the Supreme Court and won a year ago, but it was only sufficient for a period of time, and then things went back to the way they were before. There is a terrible deception of the families. There is simply a sweeping policy of abandonment here.”
"We are being deceived," Goldin claimed. "There is a function called the ‘coordinator for prisoners and missing persons’, he constantly deceives us, lies to us, we asked to know what happened and how it happened. It's simply abandonment. Everything that happens, every opportunity and every day you can say to Hamas ‘either give us the bodies or you will not receive terrorists’ bodies’ - and they do not ask for the soldiers at all. We need the media - help us ask the questions. I did not send Hadar to Gaza. It does not matter who the next government will be. Every government is committed to the unwritten alliance between the soldiers and the state. Protective Edge is not over end until they bring back Oron and Hadar."
Goldin also blasted the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza and said, "Millions enter Gaza every month, no one demands the soldiers at all. 'There will be no agreement without the soldiers' – we have this in writing, Netanyahu told us that unequivocally and the projects are running and everyone is celebrating, and what about us? We are at home, outraged. The contact with the Prime Minister is basically a meeting every six months or more, but it is not at all relevant to the agenda, to the opportunity every day to bring the soldiers back. We succeeded internationally – it is unfathomable that they provide humanitarian assistance without demanding the soldiers, we brought in the UN and the US - everyone agrees that pressure should be placed on Hamas. And who did not come? Bibi Netanyahu and the State of Israel. They simply ignore and are trying to cause everyone to forget the fact that we have two soldiers in Gaza."
Asked about her efforts to bring back her son, Goldin replied, "The head works, the body works - the soul is wounded and the heart aches. I am operating with a knife in my heart. Because I educated my children for the values of this country - mutual guarantees, friendship and kindness and truth; and we have leadership, led by Bibi Netanyahu, who simply denies all the values for which I educated my children. We are second generation to Holocaust survivors, both me and [my husband] Simcha, and we were educated that we go forward and that we do not give up our values. What is the alternative? To give up?”
The Prime Minister's Office said in response, "The Prime Minister, the defense establishment and the IDF are working tirelessly and making great efforts, both overt and covert, to bring the boys home. Naturally, in order not to harm the negotiation channels, we cannot elaborate on these efforts. The Prime Minister, the coordinator of prisoners and missing persons Yaron Blum and his team are in contact with the families and are turning every stone to bring back the IDF soldiers and civilians from Hamas captivity, and they will continue to do so."