Bob Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared in La Crosse Tribune on July 23, 2015.
The recent Washington Summit of Christians United for Israel — the 2-million strong organization dedicated to promoting American evangelicals’ support for the Jewish State — offered a powerful lineup of politicians and pundits. Half a dozen presidential candidates made appearances, either in person or via video.
Via television hookup from Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stern visage offered a prophetic warning. He seemed to know more about President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal than any of us in that vast convention hall.
The presentation from the CUFI podium that I will remember most, however, was the lamentation of a 24-year old first lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Force. Tzur Goldin is the twin brother of 1st Lt. Hadal Goldin. Last summer, Hadal’s unit crossed into Gaza as part of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. After the U.S.-brokered cease-fire, Hadal and several of his IDF comrades were captured and killed by Hamas.
Tzur Goldin had come to Washington to speak of his effort to “Bring Hadal Home.” He explained that Hamas was holding his brother’s body for ransom. Even in this time of shocking affronts to humanity, the very idea of not returning a dead body for burial is seen as barbaric.
Hearing Tzur Goldin’s lamentation, I was reminded of the Greek play, “Antigone.” In Sophocles’ classic work, Antigone clashes with Creon, the king of Thebes. The king has ruled that the bodies of fallen rebels shall be exposed to carrion crows on the field where they fell, forbidding them to be buried.
Defiant, Antigone buries her rebel brother Polyneices’ body. Discovered in the act of honoring his remains, she is condemned to be entombed in a cave by King Creon. The tragedy plays out, but the play coming down to us from antiquity shows that compassion for the dead is a universal human trait. It also shows us that the bond between siblings transcends death itself.
Goldin’s impassioned plea rang out in the vast hall. “All those who value the sanctity of human life must stand against this (Hamas) outrage against humanity. Good must triumph over evil,” he said. “I am just 24; Hadal was a part of me.”
Goldin concluded with David’s ancient prayer: “I have been a youth and now I am old, but never have I seen a righteous man abandoned.”
The ancient Greeks were neither Jews nor Arabs, neither Christian nor Muslim. But they were human. Very human. And conduct of the Hamas today is inhuman. Very inhuman. Nor should we forget that the Hamas is armed, funded, and diplomatically backed by the terror masters of Iran.
Let us pray that Tzur Goldin’s family will not be abandoned and that there will be no talk of aiding the reconstruction of Gaza until Hamas releases the body of Hadal Goldin.