UNITED NATIONS - U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has met with the parents of an Israeli soldier whose remains have never been returned after he was killed in Gaza.
Haley told Leah and Dr. Simcha Goldin on Wednesday that she'd work with them and Israeli diplomats to advocate for the return, the U.S. mission said.
Lt. Hadar Goldin and two other Israeli soldiers were ambushed and killed by Hamas militants after a U.N.-backed cease-fire took effect in Gaza in August 2014.
Goldin's parents have since made international appeals for the 23-year-old soldier's remains to be brought back to Israel for burial. Last fall, Goldin's artwork was displayed at U.N. headquarters, and his parents accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly meeting. His address to the gathering mentioned the ongoing efforts to secure Goldin's remains and those of another soldier killed in the fighting, Oron Shaul.
Hamas has demanded that Israel release dozens of prisoners before it opens negotiations on returning the soldiers' remains.
The Goldins said in a statement Thursday they were "very optimistic about our cause" after talking with Haley and felt she'd ensure it gets further attention at the U.N.
"We look forward to having U.S. support in our quest to return our son's body home for a proper burial," they said.
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon thanked Haley for meeting the Goldins and stressed that he'd continue pressing for the return of the soldiers' remains.