The family of Sgt. Hadar Goldin, whose body was captured by Hamas terrorists during fighting in Operation Protective Edge in 2014, began their first weekly protest on Friday afternoon near the Gaza border in their latest effort to boost their campaign to secure their son’s return.
The family plans to stage a protest in a tent near the border every Friday, which is also part of a demonstration to bring back Oron Shaul, whose remains were also abducted by the Gaza-ruling group, which has since refused to return their bodies.
The protest tent attracted members of the public, politicians and former officials in Israel’s defense establishment.
The first protest was staged at the "Black Arrow" memorial near the coastal enclave, which was created in honor of IDF paratroopers who fell during reprisal attacks in August 1954, along with those who fell during Operation Black Arrow in Gaza in 1955 and the Sinai campaign of 1956.
Hadar’s parents, Leah and Simcha, were joined by former defense minister MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union), who also sits on the Knesset Lobby to Bring the Soldiers Home, and former head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin.
Organizers said that they had received permission from the IDF and from the police to proceed with the protest, which is taking place against the backdrop of heightened anxiety in south Israel as Palestinians in Gaza fly burning kites into its town.
Leah Goldin, who has grown increasingly frustrated with the Israeli government's refusal to take more drastic measures against the Gaza Strip in order to force their son's release, asked how Israel managed to steal Iranian documents on its nuclear weapons program, but could not bring her son home.
"It is extremely disappointing. It is frustration that slowly turns into anger and sadness. They declared his death during the war. For four years we have heard only soundbites. We are doing everything we can. Hadar is in our hearts. We realize they are doing nothing," Leah said at the protest, before attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Especially after the prime minister's fiery speech about the intelligence operation around the nuclear program, how can it be that they know how to do that but not how to return Hadar?"
"We just lack a prime minister that would give the green light," she accused. "He just does not want to (do that). And that's the biggest difficulty."
She concluded by expressing her feeling of helplessness and her bitterness over the weekly March of Return border protests, which began anew for the sixth week in a row as they gazed at the strip.