Thousands Attend Funeral of Lt. Hadar Goldin

Father of soldier who fell in action in the Gaza Strip urges crowds: lead 'righteous lives.' His fiance says: 'I thought we'll be together forever, I never thought you'll leave me on my own so soon.'

Tomer Appelbaum

Thousands on Sunday attended the funeral of Lt. Hadar Goldin, killed in action on Friday morning in the southern Gaza Strip, in the military section of the Kfar Sava cemetery.

At the gate of the cemetery police permitted entry only to those whose names appear on a list provided by the family. The others, who came in special buses organized by the municipality, congregated outside the cemetery gates.

Speaking at the funeral were Lt. Col. Itzik Cohen, the commander of the Givati Brigade training base where Goldin served, his father Dr. Simha Goldin, his twin brother Tzur, his fiancee Edna and Rabbi Pinchas Etzion and Rabbi Itamar Haikin, Goldin’s mentor.

Hadar's father, Simha Goldin, thanked the crowds and said: "You who came en masse, live righteously and don't hate one another."

"Hadar wanted to be a Jewish fighter. Do the same as he did. Take the bible with you and become Jewish fighters. I thank the crowds who came from far and wide to be with my family."

Edna, Hadar Goldin's fiancé, said: "I thought we'll be together forever, I never thought you'll leave me on my own so soon.

"I was so happy to see you doing what you believe in, I was filled with pride that I'm tied to a man who believes in so many values. Hadar, I know you hate it when people mourn, but I explained to you that most people in world need to talk about their grief. I have no idea what my life will look like without you. No one who will meet me in this world will go by without knowing a part of you.

"I want to live for you, and I wait the day when we'll meet again."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday with Goldin’s parents. He said “Hadar was a tremendous figure, a great hero. I know that you are suffering terribly, a feeling that they have taken a part of you and you are no longer whole. It’s a pain that doesn’t give you a moment’s peace. I hope that you will find consolation in the fact that in his death he helped the survival of the Jewish people in the struggle for our independence.”

On Saturday night the army determined Goldin’s death, “based on findings from the combat area and in consideration of medical, halakhic (relating to religious law) and other factors,” according to the announcement by the Israel Defense Forces spokesman. His family thanked “all the Jewish people for their support.”

Goldin was a relative of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Ya’alon, who visited the family on Saturday, wrote on Sunday: “Hadar Goldin of blessed memory is a member of my family. I have known him since he was born. He and the IDF fighters who fell embarked on the campaign in order to restore quiet and security to Israel. I embrace the families.”

Prof. David Assaf, head of the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, where Hadar’s father Dr. Goldin is a senior lecturer, said: “The Goldin family is a courageous family with strong values, permeated with a sense of mission and sacrifice. They come from the very heart of modern religious Zionism, which combines a love of Torah and science with a love for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.” Prof. Assaf spoke about Goldin senior’s academic activity, saying: “How tragic that one of his most recent books ‘The Ways of Jewish Martyrdom,’ deals with martyrdom among European Jews in the Middle Ages, and now Simha and his family have to personally experience this phenomenon, which until now was only academic for them.”

Tomer Apelbaum