Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu have been facing scathing rebuke — from the families of their own army’s soldiers.
Two of the mothers of fallen Israeli Defense Forces’ soldiers have come forward with their accounts of encounters with the premier Israeli family and how they were insulted when they asked for their sons’ bodies’ remains.
The body of Hadar Goldin, who was killed in 2014, is reportedly being held by Hamas at Gaza. According to the bereaved mother, Leah Goldin, she was called “ungrateful” by the Sara Netanyahu, mere moments after her son’s death ceremony.
The reason? Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Netanyahu’s apparent political rival, was invited to speak by Hadar’s mother.
Moments after the ceremony, Goldin received a phone call from the premier’s wife but it was not to offer condolences.
“You are ungrateful,” the prime minister’s wife said. “If you join with my husband’s political enemies, it may harm the efforts to bring the boys back.”
Goldin’s friends told local news network, Channel 10, the call, understandably, upset the heartbroken mother; who was already going through turmoil.
Channel 10 had not run the news for over two years because the family refused to participate or have the information publicized. However, with the looming news of an Egyptian-brokered truce between Hamas and the Israeli government, the news has resurfaced.
But according to Sara Netanyahu’s spokesperson, the events never occurred. He said Netanyahu’s wife had even joined her husband to meet with the grieving families.
“Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, of blessed memory, are in the hearts of Sara Netanyahu and the prime minister, and to say anything else is incorrect and does not reflect the connection that was made with the family,” the spokesperson said.
Oron Shaul was another Israeli soldier killed at the Gaza border. However, his family’s experience with the P.M.’s family is not too fond either.
On the same day as news about Goldin’s family was published, Zehava Shaul claimed Netanyahu called her a “liar,” before her husband died two years ago.
“Two months before his death, we met Prime Minister Netanyahu and he shouted and hurled accusations at us. He called us liars because we argued that he had promised not to sign any reconciliation with Turkey before the boys return,” Shaul said, speaking of mistrust in the Israeli government.
“We all know who lied,” Shaul added. “Herzl left that meeting enraged and hurting, physically and emotionally.”
The prime minister’s office vehemently denied the account — much like Goldin’s.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has never shouted at bereaved families or hurled accusations at them, and the same applies to the Shaul family. The prime minister will continue to make every effort until the boys are returned back home,” the statement said.
Although, shouting matches between top Israeli lawmakers and families of fallen Israeli soldiers is nothing new.
Last year, Netanyahu’s office sent out a statement condemning two Likud Knesset members after they insulted such families at a Knesset meeting. And now, it is being reported the prime minister and his wife may have engaged in similar behavior.
According to Hadashot TV, Hamas has reportedly agreed to ceasefire on the terms of eased border crossings by Israel but no mention of captives of bodies was made in the statement.
Israeli lawmakers are reportedly wary of “almost unbearable pressure” from the soldiers’ families.
These families are only looking for closure. With Israel under fire for several human rights violations over its dispute with Palestine, the reports add another question mark to Netanyahu’s leadership — who has long championed himself as a representative of the Jews in Israel, criminally ignoring the minorities.
But it seems now even his own soldiers suffer from the despotic ruling of Israel’s premier.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Sebastian Scheiner /Pool via Reuters/Abir Sultan /AFP /Getty Images