Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul
Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaulpicture used with permission of family

During a briefing to reporters following his speech at the UN General Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded to a question from Arutz Sheva as to whether he is working seriously to secure the return of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose bodies have been held by the Hamas terrorist organization since 2014.

Bennett first rejected the claim that the person in charge of the issue of prisoners and missing persons, Yaron Blum, "receives money for free and does nothing for the soldiers," as Hadar Goldin's associates claim.

Bennett said that Blum is working very hard to bring back Goldin and Shaul, as well as Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, two Israeli civilians who are also being held by Hamas in Gaza. Bennett said he stressed the issue of the captives in his meeting with the UN secretary general.

"I told him that Hadar Goldin was abducted during the ceasefire initiated by the UN and therefore it is incumbent on him as the organization's secretary general to do everything possible to return the soldiers." He spoke of the civilians and noted that their captivity constituted a humanitarian abuse by the terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Bennett stressed that Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of terrorists with blood on their hands - "a move I oppose as I have opposed in the past.". He did not answer the question of why Israel does not use additional leverage it has to bring Hamas to a deal and only noted that the issue has not been removed from the agenda and is brought up in the various forums in the defense establishment at every opportunity.