President Isaac Herzog and Leah Goldin asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to help release Israeli soldiers and civilians from Hamas captivity in Gaza in a meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday.
Goldin is the mother of Hadar Goldin, who fell in battle in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has held his body and that of soldier Oron Shaul since then, and also captured Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.
She also met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday.
'A day full of hope,' defending the state of Israel
“In the authentic meeting with the secretary of state, I felt that he was really listening and that, for the first time, there are practical intentions to bring Hadar back,” Goldin said. “Bringing ‘everyone’s soldier’ from battle back to Israel’s borders will be the uniting, powerful and correct thing to do for the citizens of Israel, for world Jewry and for US citizens.”
Goldin called it “a day full of hope, the greatest since my Hadar fell in battle defending the state, thanks to the leadership of President Herzog.”
In Thursday’s meeting at the UN, accompanied by Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Herzog also emphasized that it is unacceptable for a UN member state – Iran – to threaten the annihilation of another – Israel. He called on Guterres to speak out clearly against such threats from Iran.
Herzog criticized Guterres for the lack of factual backing in his statement on the IDF
Herzog also criticized Guterres for his statement about the IDF anti-terrorism operation in Jenin this month, saying that the UN secretary-general did not take the facts into consideration and that many recent terrorist attacks originated from the Palestinian city.
Guterres criticized the IDF raid at the time, saying that “as the occupying power, [Israel] has a responsibility to ensure that the civilian population is protected against all acts of violence. Israel’s air strikes and ground operations in a crowded refugee camp were the worst violence in the West Bank in many years, with a significant impact on civilians.”
The UN meeting came at the tail end of Herzog’s trip to the US, which began in Washington with a Wednesday meeting with US President Joe Biden in the White House, followed by an address to a joint session of Congress.