KKL-JNF Dedicated a Garden on the Gaza border in Memory of Fallen IDF soldier Hadar Goldin

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

These families swore “Never Again!”, and I am sure that they would be overjoyed to know that they helped create this garden in the name of Hadar Goldin and everything that he stands for.  Keren Kayemet salutes them.”  Fino Edri – Former KKL-JNF Emissary to France

 

The KKL-JNF Hadar Garden, in memory of fallen IDF soldier Lieutenant Hadar Goldin,  was officially opened at a dedication ceremony at Kibbutz Alumim in the Sdot Negev Regional Council on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Amongst those attending the ceremony were KKL-JNF officials, leaders of KKL France, a large group of supporters of KKL France who were on tour in Israel, representatives of the Sdot Negev Regional Council, members of Kibbutz Alumim, and Simcha Goldin, father of Hadar Goldin.


Simcha Goldin. Photo: Dennis Zinn, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The ceremony was hosted by Kibbutz Alumim member Juli Peretz.  Peretz . a senior advisor in the office of Sdot Negev Regional Council Head Tamir Idan, said that it is not by chance that the Hadar Garden is located in Kibbutz Alumim. “While leading his forces during Operation Protective Edge, Givati officer Hadar Goldin was also in the final stages of planning his wedding which was to take place here at Kibbutz Alumim. The family had already contacted us,” she revealed. “ Hadar was killed not very far from here across the border while fighting to protect the people of Israel and us residents along the Gaza border in particular. For all these reasons we decided to create this garden here in his name.”

Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed by Hamas terrorists together with IDF soldiers Major Benaya Sarel and Staff Sergeant Liel Gidoni on August 1, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. Goldin’s body was abducted and has not yet been returned. Hamas is holding the bodies of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul, as well as  Israeli citizen Avera Mengistu who crossed into the Gaza Strip shortly after the end of the fighting.

Standing at the podium under a large poster showing the faces of the three Israelis being held in Gaza, Sdot Negev Regional Council Head, Tamir Idan, said that while many local leaders display pictures of politicians on their office walls, he has pictures of Hadar, Oren, and Avera on his walls. “They are with me all day every day. I do not attend an event or make a speech without mentioning their names. “

“We are currently barely three kilometers from the Gaza border,” Idan said. “The area is quiet and is flourishing.  People want to come and live here. There is such a great interest that we are looking into the possibility of establishing a new town in this area.  This phenomenon was made possible just because of the bravery of our warriors. That is, the bravery of Hadar, Benaya, Liel, Shaul, and others who risked their lives so that we can live here.”

The creation of the Hadar Garden was made possible due to generous bequests left by two members of the French Jewish Community, Jacqueline Dina Hirsch, and Dr. Victor Grun.  Speaking on behalf of KKL France, Former KKL Emissary to France, Fino Edri, revealed that in his will Dr. Grun also asked to be buried in Israel .  “KKL-JNF helped facilitate his request,” Edri said.

“These are both French Jewish families that experienced deportation, hate, and murder of Jews, Families, that despite everything, managed to arise from the ashes and build new lives. Families that took upon themselves the effort of strengthening the Jewish Nation, and helping Israel develop and thrive. These families swore “Never Again!”, and I am sure that they would be overjoyed to know that they helped create this garden in the name of Hadar Goldin and everything that he stands for.  Keren Kayemet salutes them.”

Juli Peretz told the audience that Hadar was not only an admired IDF officer but that he was also remarkably gifted as an artist and writer too.  “In the  book that he wrote ”How to Build a Life” which was published after his death, Hadar presents us  with the richness and spiritual depth that he found reflected in the world around him, the world in which he grew up and developed.”

Speaking on behalf of KKL-JNF World Chairman Avraham Duvdevani, KKL-JNF’s Moshe Freizler said that the design of the garden allows for the expression of the values that Hadar so deeply believed in. “These are the values of education, creativity, and mission. It is difficult for one to understand what the Goldin family is going through. We at KKL-JNF hope that in some small way this special garden will also preserve the memory of this talented young man whose life was cut short.”

Kibbutz Saad member Eli Krauss who is very active in the struggle to bring Hadar’s remains back to Israel, and Erez Yaakov of the local Community Conservatory performed Yoram Gaon’s song “Eretz Tzvi”.

The last speaker at the ceremony was Hadar’s father  Simcha Goldin.  Simcha thanked one and all for the effort that was put into creating the Hadar Garden. However, Simcha had only one real message which he delivered loud and clear. “The most important thing is the commitment of the people of Israel to bring their fallen home for burial in Israel and that has not happened, not for Hadar and not for Shaul. They went to Gaza to fight for us and now they are waiting for the last seven years and eight months for us to bring them home.  This park will not really bloom until that happens. I will not rest until they come home.”

Tzviki Porat of Kibbutz Alumim recited a prayer for the return of our soldiers.
The ceremony ended when Simcha Goldin and Daniel Benlulu, KKL-JNF emissary to France, unveiled a plaque that read:
The Hadar Garden
was established thanks to the donations of
Jacqueline Dina Hirsch née Danon
1917 – 2007
Dr. Victor Grun
1922 – 2018
As a sign of their love of the Land of Israel
KKL-JNF France 2022

As the ceremony ended the entire group of KKL France supporters gathered around the plaque to read it and take photographs. They were clearly moved by all that they had heard and seen. Benlulu, who was leading the tour, said that he is pleased that the group was able to attend the ceremony. “It's important that our supporters in France see more sides of Israel,” he said, “in order to give them a deeper understanding of this country.”