Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
President Reuven Rivlin as asserted on more than one occasion that Israel is interested in the rehabilitation of Gaza. The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed in action in Rafah last August, visited the president on Sunday to demand that before Israel engages in any effort to rehabilitate the Strip, Hadar’s remains and those of St.-Sgt.
Oren Shaul, which are in the hands of Hamas, must be returned to Israel.
Shaul was killed in action in Shejaia, in Gaza City, last July.
The Goldin family was not opposed to the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, but wanted to put things in perspective.
While acknowledging the suffering of Gazans, they made the point that the suffering of Israelis must also be taken into account and asked Rivlin that any remarks he makes about the rehabilitation of Gaza should underscore that rehabilitation will be conditional on the return by Hamas of the remains of the two soldiers.
Any process related to Gaza must be begin with a demand for the return of the remains, Goldin’s twin brother, Tzur, told Rivlin, adding that his family has confidence in the leadership of the country but not to the extent of blind trust.
The Goldin family believes that the return of the remains of the two soldiers should become a national mission and not merely one that concerns the families involved.
In August last year, Hamas demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the bodies of the Givati Brigade’s Goldin and the Golani Brigade’s Shaul, a subject that ignited great controversy in Israel.
Meanwhile, Rivlin attended the Dov Lautman Conference on Educational Policy on Tuesday afternoon, a twoday event held in partnership between the Lautman Foundation and the Israel Democracy Institute and hosted by the Open University of Israel in Ra’anana.
Rivlin gave awards to four schools that carried out outstanding activities throughout the 2014/2015 school year in pursuit of cooperation and dialogue between the various segments of Israeli society – the Multidisciplinary Amal Hadera School for Arts and Sciences, the Ulpanat Gila girls high school in Beit Shemesh from the Shaalei Torah network, the Sha’ur Comprehensive High School in Majd el-Kurum, and the Hartuv high school at Kibbutz Tzora.
The schools were cited for introducing elements of tolerance and respect into their curriculums, taking part in programs that brought them together with different segments of society, including a variety of meetings between secular, national-religious, ultra-Orthodox and Arab society.
Rivlin spoke about the four distinct streams of education in Israel and said that “this is ‘the new Israeli order’ that we are faced with today, where a girl from Herzliya, a girl from Rahat, a boy from Betar Illit, and a boy from Elkana are equal partners in shaping the image and future of the State of Israel and the Israeli economy.”
The challenges facing ‘the new Israeli order’ were establishing trust and formulating a shared language and value system as a prerequisite for a strong society, he said.
Rivlin emphasized that this is the first step in a long path.
“When there will no longer be a need for this presidential award for educating for cooperation, for the simple reason that it will become a matter of course, that is when we will know that our mission is complete,” the president said.