Speaking at a protest tent outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, Tzur Goldin – brother of slain IDF soldier Hadar Goldin – called on Jews around the world to help bring his brother's body home, and told Arutz Sheva the government needed to "change the equation" in dealing with kidnappings.
IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul were both killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and their bodies are still held by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza. Together with the family of Avera Mengistu – a mentally-handicapped Israeli civilian being held captive by Hamas – the soldiers' families and supporters have protested Israel's reconciliation agreement with Turkey, saying the immediate return of their loved ones should have been a precondition.
Turkey's Islamist AKP government has close ties to Hamas, and critics of the deal say Israel should conditioned any agreement on Ankara forcing Hamas to release all captive Israelis. Proponents of the reconciliation deal – including Prime Minister Netanyahu himself – insist that despite close ideological and even political ties, Turkey has no such direct control over Hamas's operational decisions.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Tzur Goldin said that, regardless, the Israeli government failed in its duty to back its soldiers – and slammed the deal in general for awarding payments to the families of Turkish terrorists who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010.
"We demand the return of Hadar, my brother, and Oron Shaul, as a precondition to this… poor agreement that gives prizes to Hamas and encourages terrorism."
Citing the families' recent meetings with senior Israeli government officials, he added: "What we asked today from all the ministers… from the prime minister, is to make sure that this method of kidnapping, of pressuring must be stopped as soon as possible.
"The equation must be changed. The terrorists must pay the price of kidnapping soldiers."
"Every single IDF soldier must know that when he goes to battle he will come back," he continued. "He must know that his government will do whatever required to bring them home."
Tzur called on Jewish communities throughout the world to mobilize to "help us change the equation."
"Help us to never surrender on an IDF soldier. Help us pressure the terrorist organizations… help us prevent the next kidnapping."