During a ceasefire in the midst of the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas fighters ambushed an Israeli unit, killing the twenty-three-year-old officer Hadar Goldin. The terrorist group, knowing full well that the Jewish state will go to extreme lengths not only to free captured soldiers, but also to bring back the bodies of those killed in action, has since then held Goldin’s corpse hostage. On the occasion of Yom Hazikaron—Israel’s day of remembrance of those who have fallen in its wars—his twin brother and fellow officer Tzur Goldin recalls Hadar’s fate, along with that of Oron Shaul.
On Memorial Day, the value we must recall above all others, is that of our common duty to fight for the return of every soldier and civilian in captivity, dead or alive. Soldiers go into battle, knowingly endangering their lives, and they think of their families at home and wonder how they would cope if something were to happen. Yet soldiers also derive strength from the knowledge that their brothers in arms will do all it takes in order to bring them back to Israel if they are injured, or if the worst should happen.
Whether such soldiers are serving in the Gazan districts of Rafah and Shajiah, or inside Lebanon, or elsewhere, the notion that Israel will retrieve her soldiers, come what may, is invaluable to members of the IDF. The importance of that value must never be forgotten or reduced. It is the value that my family is fighting to uphold today.
Terror organizations have [a brutal strategy]: they kidnap soldiers and civilians and exploit them as assets so that Israel pays a pyrrhic price, time and again, in order to obtain their release. They [thus] force Israel to choose between two types of moral injustice: leave soldiers on the battlefield—effectively the case for Hadar—or release thousands of terrorists in exchange for the return of our soldiers.