2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.
2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was feared captured in the Gaza Strip until he was declared dead on Sunday.
Text size
related tags
Ofer Vaknin
Father of Hadar Goldin, Simcha Goldin, August 2, 2014. Photo by Ofer Vaknin

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday determined that 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, previously considered captured by Hamas, was killed in battle in Gaza on Friday.

A special panel headed by Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz announced the death of Goldin, an infantry officer in the Givati Brigade. Goldin will be laid to rest at 5:30 P.M. at the Kfar Sava military cemetery.

The conclusion was based on forensic evidence from the scene of the attack,a statement by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. It added that prior to the decision, religious, medical and other relevant issues were taken under consideration.

Goldin's family was notified of the decision by the Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai, and the Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, a relative of Goldin, accompanied the two officers to the family's home in Kfar Sava.

The family said they accept the military's conclusion and thanked the people of Israel for their support. 

Goldin went missing on Friday during an attack by Hamas militants on Israeli soldiers in southern Gaza Strip. Two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack. The incident occurred during a breach of the humanitarian ceasefire declared a few hours earlier between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza.

On Friday morning, soldiers from the Givati Brigade’s special forces company advanced toward a tunnel opening near the outskirts of Rafah, 2.5 kilometers from Israeli territory. The tunnel was buttressed by reinforced concrete on both sides; defense officials said it had been dug into Israel with the intent of carrying out a terror attack.

Some members of the company, including the commander, ‪Maj. Benaya Sarel, his radioman Staff Sgt. Liel Gidoni and squad leader Goldin approached the structure housing the tunnel opening. As the rest of the soldiers went around the other side of an adjacent building, combatants opened fire on Sarel, Gidoni and Goldin.

The other soldiers reported that this was “heavy fire.” A few minutes later, additional forces arrived and discovered that Sarel and Gidoni had been killed, and that next to their bodies was the body of a militant who had presumably detonated an explosive belt.

Later, the soldiers realized that squad leader Goldin was missing and the deputy company commander decided to advance toward the building and enter the tunnel. The tunnel included corridors, one of them leading to a mosque to the east. Another shaft was found leading to a Hamas bunker.

On Saturday evening, Goldin's family held a press conference and demanded that the IDF not leave Gaza without their son.

“I’m a battalion commander, I’ve been in the reserves until I was 50 and can’t imagine the IDF would forsake its fighter,” said Goldin’s father, Dr. Simcha Goldin. “My commander in Northern Command was [IDF Chief of Staff] Benny Gantz and I know he will not order the IDF to leave anywhere when there’s a soldier inside.”

Goldin’s mother added: “I demand that the State of Israel not leave Gaza until it brings my boy back home. Hadar is Zur’s twin, Zur’s second half. They both serve in the same place. I demand that the State of Israel not forsake my child and not forsake any child who went off to defend Israel.”

A special panel headed by Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz announced the death of Goldin, an infantry officer in the Givati Brigade.

The conclusion was based on forensic evidence from the scene of the attack,a statement by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. It added that prior to the decision, religious, medical and other relevant issues were taken under consideration.