Prime minister's envoy for captives and missing persons resigns

Lotan was tasked with negotiating the releases of Israelis held by enemies.

August 25, 2017 10:01
1 minute read.
Simha and Leah Goldin with a   photo of Hadar doing one of the activities he loved - painting - his

Simha and Leah Goldin with a photo of Hadar doing one of the activities he loved - painting - his last piece before he was killed.. (photo credit: LAURA BEN-DAVID)

After having served as the prime minister’s envoy for captives and missing persons for three years, attorney Lior Lotan resigned on Thursday. 

“This position is a very demanding one,” Lotan said in his resignation letter, “which is why it would be good to see [a new] person assume it every few years.”

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Lotan filled the position without remuneration.

The parents of Israeli officer Hadar Goldin, who has been missing since the 2014 battle of Rafah, expressed their appreciation of Lotan and the work he did but also stated that they "feel abandoned by the government."

Goldin is thought to have died in the fighting. His family demands that his remains be brought to Israel for a proper Jewish burial. His father, noted historian Simcha Goldin, said on Israeli television on Friday that “the government gives Hamas everything [it] wants and expects the envoy to accept it.”

The family stated that the government is essentially paying lip service, saying they are “doing everything to bring back Hadar and Oron [Shaul]"  while in reality, ''nothing is [being] done.''

Oron Shaul was an IDF soldier killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, whose body - like Goldin's - is being held by Hamas. The militant terrorist organization has attempted to use the two boys' bodies as bargaining chips in negotiations for prisoner releases.
Shaul's father passed away in 2016 from cancer and claimed the illness was the result of his anguish at losing his son in battle.

Former Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon said that "The resignation of Lior Lotan is a cause for worry. We have a moral duty to bring our soldiers to a [Jewish] burial in Israel and to bring back our missing citizens."

In addition to Shaul and Goldin, an Israeli citizen of Ethiopian descent, Avraham Mengistu, has been held in Gaza since 2014 when he crossed into the territory under circumstances that are still unclear. Israeli-Beduin nationals Hisham al-Sayed, 29 and Jumaa Abu Ghanima, 19 are also believed to be held in Gaza, having been reported missing three years ago. All three Israeli nationals suffer from mental illnesses.

Mengistu's family said of Lotan's resignation that without reassurance from the prime minister, "no progress in the returning of our son will be made.''

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