In a new podcast, history professor Dr. Simcha Goldin, Hadar's father, tells journalist Dudu Saada about eight years without him, about the hope of bringing him to Israel for burial, about his disappointment in the diplomatic and political authorities, about the humanitarian incentives that may bring the boys home, and how Hadar is still present in their lives today.
During Operation Protective Edge, in August 2014, two hours after Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin of the Givati Brigade was shot and dragged into a Hamas tunnel. He was held by Hamas for at least two days before he died. His body is being held to this day by Hamas.
"Hamas needs to understand that when it kidnaps IDF soldiers or civilians, it will pay a price for it every day. Everything that Hamas receives should be conditional upon the return of the soldiers and civilians.''
Goldin says: "In 2014, Binyamin Netanya stated clearly that any rehabilitation or upgrading of Gaza will depend upon the return of our soldiers. He did not abide by this, deleting this section and signing the Marmara Agreement. Since then, his policy has been the opposite, all for clear political motives. There is no security issue here. Hamas begged for ventilators at the beginning of the epidemic, and then begged for vaccines, and the prime minister did not condition these on the return of the soldiers. This is despite the fact that IDF representatives were at our house and assured us that not a single breathing apparatus would be transferred to Gaza before the soldiers are returned. The prime minister allowed both ventilators and vaccines to be transferred to Gaza."
"Hadar was defined as an IDF fatality, a slain soldier who was not brought home for burial, which is a principle mitzvah in Judaism. Such a warrior is defined as having 'his soul in the seat of honor'. When doing actions to raise the soul, I ask - where do you want to raise the soul? The phrase 'ascension of a soul' that the living do on behalf of the dead, in my opinion, is actually related to the living and not to the dead. The question is, where are our souls with respect to Hadar and the mitzvah to bring his body to a grave in Israel? What do we really do to fulfill the mitzvah? He who is content with prayers is fine and quiets his conscience with prayer. That's why relying on the prayers alone is like saying: ‘come let us pray and everything will be fine.’ But it won't be fine. His soul is in a good place. Our soul is in trouble."
Goldin talked about the effect of this situation on IDF soldiers in general. Soldiers have to know that if they fall, alive or dead, in enemy territory, that the government will not abandon them. The fact that Hadar has not yet been brought home affects soldier morale. Yet the IDF leaders at that time have advanced to higher positions in the IDF or seek leadership roles in politics.
At the holiday dinner table without Hadar, Simcha said: "Hadar is present. Family relations were very close and everyone knows what Hadar would do and what joke he would tell, so he is present with us all the time. We are happy and continue exactly on his path."