The Israel Defense Forces has concluded that Lt. Hadar Goldin died after being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and had informed his family. Earlier in the evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference that Israel “would make every effort to bring its missing sons home,” and intensive searches continued into the night in the Rafah area.

The Chief Rabbi of the IDF, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, declared the death of IDF officer Lt. Hadar Goldin at 11:35 p.m. The soldier, who like all fallen soldiers was posthumusly promoted a rank, died in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The decision was made, said an IDF spokesman, according to the findings of a special board, headed by the rabbi, who took into account medical, halachic and other relevant considerations.

The IDF’s Head of Personnel, Maj. Gen. Orna Barbibay, and Rabbi Peretz together delivered the news to the grieving family, which accepted their findings.

The prime minister said in his news conference that while Israel would begin to withdraw those ground troops on Sunday that had successfully completed their mission to destroy terrorist tunnels into Israel, the IDF would otherwise continue its operations “to ensure to Israel’s security needs.”

“I send my condolences to the grieving families who have sacrificed everything to protect our country,” the prime minister said of those mourning the 63 soldiers who have been killed in the fighting. Addressing Goldin's family, the prime minister said he “understood their pain and suffering,” and would speak with them later in the evening.

Goldin, a 23-year-old Givati brigade officer from Kfar Saba, was kidnapped when Hamas launched an attack on IDF forces near Rafah, almost immediately violating a three-day humanitarian truce agreed to by Israel. Two soldiers were also killed in the attack that led to Goldin’s abduction.

The IDF announced that Maj. Benaya Sarel, 26, from Kiryat Arba, would be laid to rest at 12:15 am Sunday, and the funeral for 1st Sgt. Liel Gidoni, 20, from Jerusalem, will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. on Mount Herzl.

Meanwhile, an updated list of hospitalized IDF soldiers as of last Thursday, including their Hebrew names and their mothers’ Hebrew names, was published on Friday by the Chabad Youth Organization of Israel with calls to pray for their recovery.

Jewish women and girls around the world had the missing and wounded soldiers in mind when lighting Shabbat candles prior to the onset of Shabbat, and there were prayers on their behalf during congregational Sabbath services and at other times during Shabbat.

Also on on Friday, the IDF released the names of the five armored-corps soldiers killed on Thursday: Reservist Capt. Liran Adir (Edry), 31, of Azuz; Staff Sgt. Noam Rosenthal, 20, of Meitar, who was an armored-corps combat medic; Capt. Omri Tal, 22, of Yehud; Staff Sgt. Daniel Marash, 22, of Rishon Letzion; and Staff Sgt. Shay Kushnir, 20, of Kiryat Motzkin.

An injured Israeli soldier is evacuated by helicopter from an area near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
An injured Israeli soldier is evacuated by helicopter from an area near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

List of Wounded and Other Ways to Help

For those wishing to help in the effort from abroad, has set up a special web page where people can dedicate a mitzvah and write a note to IDF soldiers in general.

Mitzvahs and notes can be specifically directed to the wounded, and printouts will be hand-delivered by staff and volunteers of the Chabad Terror Victims Project.

Those wishing to write a letter and dedicate a mitzvah to IDF soldiers can click here to participate.

For more news, impressions, mitzvahs and prayers related to “Operation Protective Edge,” click here.

For those wishing to pray for the wounded, the following is the notice containing the Hebrew names of those who were hospitalized as of Thursday evening July 31, along with their mothers’ names, which are to be used in prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.

Readers can click on the photo of the ad below for a full-size image of the ad for easier viewing of the names of soldiers hospitalized at the end of last week. The list will be updated as new names become available.

A list of hospitalized IDF troops as of July 31, 2014.
A list of hospitalized IDF troops as of July 31, 2014.