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Press Release – 18 July 2008

Mourning Israel’s fallen soldiers,
Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev zichronam livracha

Statement from Dr Danny Lamm, President SZCV

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that the State Zionist Council of Victoria issues the following statement and offers our deepest condolences to the families of Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev zichronam livracha.

Yehi Zichram Baruch. May their memories be blessed.

Following events in Israel over the last 48 hours, we now know that Hezbollah terrorists killed Udi and Eldad after attacking and kidnapping them and killing their fellow soldiers on July 12, 2006, tragically also their last day of a 28-day period of reserve duty on Israel’s northern border. After the patrol on that fateful morning, Udi z”l and Eldad z”l were supposed to return home to their families and to their lives.

Today, 2 years and 6 days later, their final images and their deaths are difficult to process.

We saw televised images of Udi and Eldad’s 2 black coffins passed from Hezbollah to the Red Cross to the Israeli Defence Forces, their fellow soldiers saluting the coffins draped in Israeli flags while being transported to their waiting families at the Shraga Base, the Goldwasser and Regev families grieving beside the coffins and yesterday, together with the entire Israeli nation, burying them and comprehending that their last 2 years spent in agonizing limbo have ended.

We mourn with each member of the Goldwasser and Regev families and with the People and State of Israel, suffering the loss of 2 more young Israeli lives to organised and premeditated terror.

This painful process exemplifies Israel’s moral commitment to secure the return of all of their soldiers sent on operational missions. It is a demonstration of Israel’s moral and physical strength, stemming from Judaism, the values of Israeli society and the spirit of the IDF.

It is reprehensible that Samir Kuntar, the convicted child-killer who was returned to Hezbollah in the exchange, has been hailed a hero; not only in Lebanon but throughout many parts of the Middle East, including in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah, indeed any society that is today celebrating Kuntar should be judged by whom it chooses to hold up as an example.

Since yesterday’s exchange, I have heard and read many analyses, both locally and from Israel about how Israel moves forward from this time of darkness. The one I think we should hold onto is from IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenzi who in a letter to all IDF soldiers, wrote “Today we are biting our lipsyet
at the same time we are holding our heads high as a nation and as an army that are committed to the values of Judaism and to the special codes of Israeli society.”

“The supreme value of the sanctity of life and mutual responsibility are entrenched in our national and social psyche,” the army chief wrote. “They are nobly expressed in the IDF every dayeven when the price is high, we will remain committed to our values and beliefs, which distinguish the IDF and the people of Israel, and in this moral context too we shall be worthy of serving as a ‘light unto the nations.'”

We continue with the hope that Gilad Shalit, today in Hamas terrorist captivity for the 754th day, will be returned to his family alive and well, as quickly as possible.

For more information contact:
SZCV President, Dr Danny Lamm 0408 408 929
SZCV Director of Public Affairs, Elly Shalev 9272 5519
The State Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel.
For more information, please visit the State Zionist Council of Victoria website