Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Shin Bet veteran Yaron Blum to oversee the negotiations for the return of four captive Israeli citizens held in Gaza.







The four Israeli citizens held in Gaza

The four Israeli citizens held in Gaza Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Shin Bet veteran Yaron Blum as the new chief negotiator for the release of the Israeli citizens held by Hamas in Gaza.

Netanyahu on Saturday spoke on the phone with the families of the four captive Israelis and notified them of the new appointment. He added that he is committed to bringing their loved ones back home.

Blum, who is stepping in two months after the resignation of Lior Lotan, the previous chief negotiator, told Channel 2 News he was “thrilled” to take on the task.

The family of Abera Mengistu, who is believed to be still alive, praised the appointment and said they are looking forward to meeting with Blum as soon as possible.

The family of IDF officer Hadar Goldin, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge, said the appointment gives the government “an unprecedented opportunity to put effective pressure on Hamas and to garner the support of the international community in order to achieve the best prisoner swap deal in years.”