Opinion Israel's Gold Star Family
The Goldins want their dead son's body returned by Hamas at any price, and they want to extract that price from the Gaza Strip’s 2 million cursed inhabitants
Gideon Levy Jun 25, 2017 12:29 AM
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The blood of 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin is particularly precious. Between 130 and 150 people – most of them civilians, including women and children – paid with their lives for his killing and the abduction of his body during the 2014 Gaza war. The Israeli army fired more than 1,000 artillery shells at homes in Rafah, and the air force bombed 20 additional “targets” that were probably also residences.
The operation that was meant to avert Goldin’s abduction on “Black Friday,” August 1, 2014, turned into a completely unchecked reprisal action (“You shoot like retards,” the commander of the brigade shouted to his soldiers over the radio), which Amnesty International declared to be a war crime.
Few are the soldiers whose abduction or killing has led to such bloodletting.
The Goldin family lost a loved one. The following day, Goldin was declared dead and an enormous funeral was held for him. But the family, whose private agony was immeasurable, wants all the remains returned. That is the family’s right. The state has a duty to help with this, and I can only hope the family gets its wish.
But with all due respect to the Goldins’ pain, their struggle has turned into an immoral and infuriating incitement campaign. Even public opinion in Israel, so easily given to incitement, has not shown much interest in the matter.
For the Goldin family – they often issue statements as a family – the terrible blood price paid by Gazans because Hamas militants dared to kill a soldier and snatch his body after the Israeli army invaded their territory is not enough. The Goldins want their son’s body at any price, and they want to extract that price from the Gaza Strip’s 2 million cursed inhabitants.
For the Goldins, no price is too high for the Gazans to pay. Let them freeze to death, deprive them of electricity, let their prisoners be tortured even more in jail – whatever it takes to get their son’s remains back. This incitement is unacceptable, even from the family of a fallen soldier.
The Goldins turned themselves into Israel’s Gold Star family. They joined the March of the Living at Auschwitz and the prime minister’s trip to the United Nations, including a meeting with the U.S. envoy to the organization. Israel’s president even showed his American counterpart a photograph of Hadar Goldin. While thousands of Gazan Palestinians died in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, and Israel is holding the bodies of dozens of West Bank Palestinians, the world is only supposed to care about, and be shocked by, the fate of their son.
The Goldins opposed the army’s pulling out of the Gaza Strip in 2014: let more civilians and soldiers be killed; what’s important is for their son to be buried in Israel. On the second anniversary of his death, the family was furious that not a single cabinet member attended his memorial, as if Goldin were Israel’s only fallen soldier.
And the incitement: Hamas-affiliated Palestinian prisoners in Israel “scandalously” receive family visits. “The terrorists continue to live in a summer camp”; “their deluxe conditions are beyond the imagination.” Have Dr. Leah and Prof. Simha Goldin ever been to an Israeli prison? Do they know how many Gazans can visit their relatives who are imprisoned in one?
But even that wasn’t enough for them. They want all Gazans to be cold in winter and to have no electricity in the summer. As far as they’re concerned, let the preemies die, let the hospital patients suffer – just as long as Hadar’s remains are returned. Last winter, the Goldins protested that Israel allowed Qatar and Turkey to supply diesel fuel to Gaza, and now they are against providing power. To them, preventing millions of people accessing electricity is a “pressure tactic.”
“We need to teach them to behave in accordance with our values, not their values,” Simha Goldin said. When Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed building a seaport in the Gaza Strip in exchange for its disarmament, the family called it “disheartening.”
One of the peaks occurred last week: A reconciliation meeting with MK Miki Zohar (Likud), who ostensibly insulted the family when he said, at that infamous Knesset session, that they were out of line. The Goldins agreed to the reconciliation, but not without getting something in return: Zohar promised to work toward removing privileges from Hamas prisoners. Nothing cheers the Goldins more than that.
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