Bereaved father: Apologize for comparing us to terrorists

Following the storm of controversy over remarks in which Army Radio interviewer and journalist Razi Barkai drew a comparison between the families of terrorists and the families of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014, Barkai has described his statements as “misspeaking.”

Simcha Goldin, Hadar’s father, refused to accept Barkai’s portrayal of his own remarks, and took to the radio to express his pain.

“I heard about what Razi Barkai said,” Goldin said. “My wife and I didn’t believe it. [When] we heard the recordings, it was very difficult.”

At that point, Goldin was patched into Barkai’s program.

“Hello, Razi Barkai. I hope you slept well last night,” Goldin opened the conversation. “What you said was terrible, awful. I’m talking with you about what I heard. We’re in a battle to prove to the world that there are huge differences between us and our enemies, and on Army Radio you come and compare our families to the families of terrorists. I suggest that you not try and justify that, at least to me.”

Barkai tried to explain his remarks the previous day, which he made during a conversation with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, but Goldin refused to listen and demanded an apology.

“You won’t drag me into that,” Goldin said. “I’m talking about what you said, and you apologize [for it].”

Barkai attempted to soften Goldin up, saying, “I take my hat off to the bereaved families,” and once more tried to explain his words: “The remark had nothing to do with comparing Hadar and Oron to terrorists, only the feelings of the bereaved mothers. As far as comparing the feelings of Palestinian and Israeli mothers — there’s no difference.”

Goldin replied: “I’m very happy that you’re saying that out loud, and IDF soldiers need to decide whether they want to continue listening to this station.”

Barkai told him that “if my words hurt you, I misspoke.”

At this stage, program host Niv Raskin stepped in and tried to calm the waters, pointing out that “Razi himself is a bereaved brother and he was trying to clarify and explain.”

Goldin responded that “we’ll talk about that, because if he can say something like that, what does it mean for the rest of us? Niv, you don’t know me. I heard with my own ears [what Barkai said] and I think it’s very bad. In my opinion, Razi didn’t make a genuine apology. I think that no bereaved family could accept what he said, and what’s worse — not IDF soldiers.”

Head of Army Radio Yaron Dekel discussed on Monday the criticism of Barkai and said that “the comparison is painful and infuriating and out of place. Razi Barkai is a professional, veteran broadcaster, and there’s no need to jump all over him because he misspoke.”