Family members of Givati Brigade officer First Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who fell in combat during Operation Protective Edge last summer and whose body is still being held by Hamas terrorists, met with President Reuven Rivlin on Monday at the Presidential Residence.
In the meeting they demanded that the return of their loved one take precedence over the reconstruction of the terror enclave of Gaza, apparently urging Israel to use the leverage of Gaza's need to rebuild in order to secure the release of Goldin's body.
They decided to hold the meeting with Rivlin after they heard that during a tour Rivlin held in northern Israel he claimed that the rehabilitation of Gaza – which was damaged in Hamas's third terror war against Israel – is an Israeli interest.
The bereaved family members emphasized to Rivlin that before talk of rebuilding Gaza, the bodies of Goldin and Golani Brigade combat soldier First Sergeant Oron Shaul who is also being held by Hamas must be returned.
"Any process planned in connection to the Gaza Strip must start with the return of the fallen Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul," said Tzur Goldin, the twin brother of Hadar.
Tzur continued, "we are a family that puts confidence in its leadership, but that is not blind confidence, it is a confidence of wide-open eyes whose foundations are steadfast."
"It's not just that on August 1 Hadar didn't return home either alive or dead, but rather that my parents bore upon themselves national responsibility entwined in the fate of their son," he concluded. "We demand that the return of (the nation's) sons be a national mission first and foremost, and not a private family interest."
The demand that Israel condition reconstruction of Gaza on the return of the fallen soldiers' bodies would apparently also aim to defuse the release demands of Hamas by forcing the terrorist organization to comply.
Hamas in April reportedly toughened their demands for the return of the bodies, demanding the release of the fourth and final batch of jailed terrorists who were never freed in "gestures" during the last round of peace talks, as well as the 63 terrorists who were among the 1,027 jailed terrorists released in the 2011 Shalit deal and rearrested for breaching conditions and committing terror related crimes.
Regarding the reconstruction of Gaza, Qatari building plans are reportedly all being approved by Israel and there is a wide influx of construction materials – despite the documented fact that Hamas is siphoning the construction materials to rebuild its terror tunnels meant to attack from within Israeli territory.