Feathers Fly as MKs Discuss Fate of Missing Soldiers

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli soldiers seen mourning during the funeral of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin in 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Parents of soldiers who were killed or lost in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during a meeting of the Knesset Control Committee Wednesday, with MKs in turn berating supporters and opponents of the Prime Minister – as well as several parents in attendance.

The Committee was meeting to discuss the recently-released State Comptroller’s Report on the war, with Netanyahu positive about the results of the meeting. We dealt Hamas a mortal blow, to the point where the terror group’s military wing begged its political echelon abroad to stop the war,” Netanyahu told MKs and guests. Netanyahu also said that the government was doing “everything possible” to recover the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, as well as a live Israeli, Ebra Mengistu, all being held by Hamas.

Not true, said Dr. Leah Goldin, the mother of the fallen Hadar. “The report forgot to talk about two heroes of the war who were kidnapped by Hamas in the terror tunnels.” she said. “They are not mentioned there. How could you have stopped the war without retrieving them?” she burst out as Netanyahu spoke. “Almost three years after the war no one is doing anything to help us. You have turned us into an enemy of the people. You have turned our missing sons into a family, not a national problem.”

Attempting to calm the situation, Likud MK Miki Zohar told Goldin that she was “out of order,” to which she responded that he ought to be quiet. “I don’t even know who you are, do not interrupt me. You are arrogant,” she said, hurling a cup of water at him. Zohar responded, saying “your complaints are inaccurate and excessive,” as Netanyahu tried to restrain him. Zionist Camp MK Stiv Shafir told Zohar “you cannot speak like that to parents of lost soldiers. Have you no shame?”

It was not the only interruption of proceedings by parents of soldiers invited to the discussion. Earlier, one of the parents yelled at MKs, saying “there is no order here. Where were you during the war? Where were you when my son was killed? Now you sit and cry – instead fix the government.” Several minutes later, Arab MK Jamal Zahalka said that the Committee should also be discussing the “2,200 civilians who were killed in Gaza” during the war – to which this same parent responded by yelling at Zahalka, saying “What are you doing here? Who let you in? Go join [Marwan] Barghouti on his hunger strike. It’s too bad 20,000 of you were not killed.”

Speaking before the Committee, Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett said that the government had not done enough to rescue the soldiers. “The Shaul and Goldin families made a decision not to pressure the government to release terrorists in order to redeem their sons,” unlike the family of Gilad Shalit, who was eventually released by Hamas in exchange for some 1,000 terrorists. “That does not mean that the government should ignore them. Quite the opposite,” Bennett said, adding that much more could and should be done to bring the soldiers home.