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Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern with Simcha Goldin
Photo: Netanel Ariel
Hundreds pray for return of IDF soldiers’ bodies at Western Wall
Prominent rabbis lead mass prayer for return of remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and are held by Hamas in Gaza. Simcha Goldin, Hadar’s father, calls on Israeli public to ‘start explaining to its leadership that it’s time for action.’
Hundreds of people held a mass prayer at the Western Wall on Thursday for the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in action during the 2014 Israeli operation in Gaza and whose bodies have been held by Hamas since then.

 

 

Prominent rabbis, public figures and the fallen soldiers’ family members arrived at the holy site in Jerusalem for a first-of-its-kind event as part of the campaign to bring the bodied back home for burial.

 

“I thank everyone who helped and everyone who prayed,” Hadar’s father, Simcha Goldin, said at the end of the rally. He asked the Israeli public “not to stop praying, God forbid, but also to complement the prayers with action.”

 

Simcha Goldin at the Western Wall  (Photo: Netanel Ariel)
Simcha Goldin at the Western Wall (Photo: Netanel Ariel)

 

He called on the public “to start explaining to its leadership—both the religious and the political leadership—that it’s time for action and there’s no time left. The time is now. We must pressure them and not let go, and bring Hadar and Oron to be buried in Israel. It’s our mission, it’s a mitzvah, it’s what the public is demanding.”

 

‘Restore our national dignity’

The prayer was led by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leading religious-Zionist rabbi.

 

 (Photo: Netanel Ariel)
(Photo: Netanel Ariel)

 

Knesset Member Moti Yogev of the Bayit Yehudi faction called on the government, together with Simcha Goldin, to use all means at Israel’s disposal to exert considerable pressure on the terror organizations, without releasing terrorists, to return the two soldiers, who were killed while defending the citizens of the State of Israel.

 

“It is our duty to bring them for burial in Israel and to restore our national dignity,” he said. “We are appealing both to the government and to God,” added Rabbi Eliyahu.

 

Nachman Shapira, one of the campaign’s leaders and rally’s organizers, said: “For three years, the State of Israel has been abandoning Hadar and Oron, giving in to terror and failing to pressure the terror organizations. For three years, the families have been fighting alone. We haven’t forgotten Hadar and Oron and we demand that the government put heavy pressure on Hamas and claim a heavy price from them.”

 

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