By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — February 23, 2023 … On the last day of the Conference of Presidents’ annual National Leadership Mission to Israel, delegates from more than 50 American Jewish Organizations met with Leah Goldin, mother of IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin who was killed and kidnapped along with IDF First Sergeant Oron Shaul in combat with Iran backed Islamic terrorists in Gaza in 2014, during IDF Operation Protective Edge.
Goldin, an officer in the Givati Brigade, was part of a group of soldiers who had found a Hamas terror tunnel in a rural area near Rafah, and they were working on decommissioning it when they were attacked.
Speaking in conversation with Conference of Presidents CEO, William Daroff, Leah Goldin made an emotional plea to the United States Jewish delegates to make firm representation to the American and Israeli leadership, to work for the return of the bodies of the soldiers for burial in Israel, and to work for the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed who were also being held by Hamas in Gaza.
Asking the American Jewish leaders to call on the US policy makers to condition any aid to Gaza on the return of the Israelis held there, she said: “The kidnapping of Hadar was a violation of international law. We went to the UN, we went to the U.S. State Department. We have done all we can as a family. We need you approach the decision makers and make something happen.”
She added, “This is not a political issue. It is a humanitarian issue. We have four sons in Gaza. One Ashkenazi, one Sephardi, one Ethiopian, and one Bedouin.”
Thanking her for her bravery, CEO William Daroff said: “All of American Jewry stands with you in this deeply painful struggle. We will continue to do all we can to promote the issue, and pray we see the return of Hadar for proper burial in Israel.”
Recently, Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen discussed the growing Iranian threat and the importance of securing the release of the Gaza captives with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a one-day solidarity visit to the country stricken by a massive earthquake.
“I brought up the issue of the Israeli civilians and the bodies of the soldiers in the hands of the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza, and we discussed the fight against the Iranian nuclear program,” Cohen said about his meeting with Erdogan.