Against the background of reports of progress in the contacts between Israel and Hamas over a prisoner exchange deal, the family of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was killed by an explosive device in the Rafah area during the 2014 Gaza War, launched a campaign against the government on Sunday, to enlist public support for the return his body and the body of Oron Shaul, which are held by Hamas.
As part of the project, the family and its circle of friends are trying to “change the public consciousness” regarding the return of Goldin’s and Shaul’s bodies, through an advertising campaign.
“We are here to bring about a real change of awareness in Israeli society, to which end we are recruiting people who can do copywriting, video editing and graphic design,” the campaign website states.
Project Oz plans to mobilize citizens, public figures and public opinion leaders as lobbyists in the Knesset, government and civil authorities for the efforts to return the soldiers’ bodies. In addition, extensive efforts will be made in social networks to raise awareness of the issue.
“After years of inaction on the part of public representatives, embarrassing confusion, and, for the first time in Israel, a blatant failure in exerting efforts to return IDF soldiers, we have decided to unite and act to bring our boys home,” the campaign website, Project Oz (courage) declares.
“We are the friends, family and acquaintances of the Goldin family,” declares the site, on YouTube. “Project Oz was launched in cooperation with the [Goldin] family to inform them that they are not alone.”
“We are here to announce that returning IDF soldiers who did not come home from the battle is not just the problem of their families, but a national mission, and we are here to stand up and act on behalf of our soldiers and yours.”
The families of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin have announced that they do not know whether recent reports about progress in the talks on their boys’ return are true. On Saturday, the families urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work for the return of the bodies.
According to a report in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, negotiations of the return of three missing Israeli citizens—Ibrahim Mengistu, Hisham a-Sayad and Jum’ah Ibrahim Abu Ghanima—alongside the bodies of Shaul and Hadar Goldin, are being mediated by Russia, Egypt and the United Nations.