An aspiring Israel Defense Forces soldier who wants to serve in the spokesperson unit, Eitan Goldstein just auditioned for the role on one of the world’s biggest stages – CNN. The 23-year old American University alumnus was interviewed by Don Lemon on July 31, marking his first ever television interview.
The cable news anchor began with a softball question about why Goldstein wanted to join the IDF. “I have a lot of family here in Israel. That’s been very important to me, as well as the fact that I’ve been coming here for most of my life in the summers. I really want to help build the Israel-U.S. relationship and strengthen it,” Goldstein replied. After that, Goldstein found himself in the hot seat.
“Let’s talk about the people in Gaza,” said CNN’s Lemon. “Civilians are believed to be the most killed in Gaza. You sent pictures of your volunteer work with children in a bomb shelter. How do you feel about joining the Israeli army knowing that many children are among the casualties?”
Goldstein didn’t hesitate with his answer: “I do know that many children are among the casualties and this is extraordinarily regrettable. I do know I am going into the most moral army in the world. These children that have been killed are not being killed on purpose. We are not actively trying to kill them. These are children that are being basically held hostage by Hamas.”
“Hamas is shooting rockets from schools. … Every single civilian life lost in Gaza is extraordinarily regrettable. The fact of the matter is Hamas is putting their own people into harm’s way. This is something we just can’t take.”
And this is with no formal media training.
“I prepared for the questions,” said Goldstein in a phone interview from Israel. “I know CNN, I know their platform, views and slants.” Goldstein, nephew of Stuart Kurlander, one of the owners of Washington Jewish Week, made aliyah in May.
He will be drafted into the IDF in September.
While a student at American University majoring in international relations and Arabic, Goldstein studied abroad at Hebrew University and spent four months in Jordan living with a Jordanian family, practicing his Arabic language skills.
“The unit I want to go into correlates with my degree. This will give me the fullest potential” to serve Israel, he said. Goldstein’s father, Asaf Goldstein, is Israeli and served in several wars himself.
He says he is proud of his son, especially for his comments on CNN.
Are the Goldsteins worried about their son’s safety in Israel?
Said Asaf Goldstein: “My wife and I are more concerned about our daughter going to a big university [in America]. We are more concerned about crime and rape on campus than with Eitan in Tel Aviv.”