The Responsibility of Hadar Goldin's Family

If only one prime minister had stood firm against the pressure from the families and press, it is almost certain that abductions would have become a thing of the past.

2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was feared captured in the Gaza Strip until he was declared dead on Sunday.

The circumstances of the death of 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014 have made him into a symbol of courage and heroism. The public has awarded his family its overflowing support, love and empathy. Our hearts have gone out to them.

Contrary to families whose loved ones were abducted in the past, the Goldin family did not blame the government or the Israel Defense Forces — or everything else — for the tragedy that befell them. The Goldins did the opposite: From their statements to the press, especially those of Hadars father, Prof. Simha Goldin (a former colleague of mine at The Institute for Zionist Strategies), the public got the impression that the family was responsible for what it said and knew that in every war, statesmen and commanders cannot predict or prevent the thousands of developments that occur. The Goldins expressed their faith, of course, that their sons body would soon be returned — along with the body of Sgt. Oron Shaul — but they never voiced the demand to do so in return for the release of terrorists.

Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul were kidnapped, plain and simple, as a result of the heavy pressure applied by families of those abducted in the past, who, led by the cynical and manipulative media, overwhelmed the decision-makers. If only one prime minister had stood firm against the pressure from the families and press, it is almost certain that the abductions — as a phenomenon and a method — would have become a thing of the past long before Protective Edge.

Since the agreement with Turkey, which did not include the return of the bodies, there has been a change in the Goldin familys style. Their statements have begun to remind one of the demands of the Goldwassers, the Shalits and other such families. Now, as it was then, the media has mobilized itself to weaken the governments power to withstand the pressure. So it is necessary for the Goldin family to face the fate of their actions: Those who bring about the release of terrorists are also responsible for the deaths of Jews by those released, who return to their old ways and kidnappings in the manner of what happened to Hadar Goldin. It is a shame that this family, too, which gave the impression that it was made of something different, has begun a campaign that will bring the government to its knees, and which will necessarily cause great tragedies for other families in the future. Precisely — and this is the absolute truth — as to happened to the Goldin family.

At the memorial service that was held for Hadar this week, serious accusations were made at the quite a few embarrassed cabinet ministers in attendance. You are not here in a ceremonial role ... You are here to do [something], said Hadars twin brother, Tzur. This is a mistake, Tzur. Your brothers body will actually be returned if they dont do anything. Only when it becomes clear to Hamas that Israel has returned to sanity and no longer trades in kidnapped bodies will Hadar be returned.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said at the ceremony that Hadar embroidered the words With courage and humility on the strap of his rifle. The redeeming of captives is a fundamental value in Jewish beliefs, she said. But Jewish beliefs, which a number of governments have desecrated in the past, also add a prohibition: We do not redeem captives for more than their value ... So our enemies do not return to capture them.

If this time, too, the campaign to pressure the government succeeds, then other families, including possibly my own family, could well pay the price with the abduction of their children or their lives (or both). Only when it becomes clear to the kidnappers that we have stopped surrendering to extortion will they be forced to return the bodies in return for a humanitarian or economic gesture. In order for this to occur, the Goldin family must return to the path of courage and humility and end its dishonorable public pressure that is gaining momentum. In this way they will allow the government to make a considered and responsible decision. Only in this way will their son be returned to them, without causing misery to other families in the future.