The circumstances surrounding his death remained cloudy. A military spokeswoman declined to say whether Lieutenant Goldin had been killed along with two comrades by a suicide bomb one of the militants exploded, or later by Israel's assault on the area to hunt for him; she also refused to answer whether his remains had been recovered.
Just what those circumstances were began to filter out early this week, and they attest to deep contradictions in the Israeli military?and in Israeli culture at large.
A temporary ceasefire went into effect last Friday morning at eight. At nine-fifteen, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces headed toward a house, in the city of Rafah, that served as an entry point to a tunnel reportedly leading into Israel. As the I.D.F. troops advanced, a Hamas militant emerged from the tunnel and opened fire. Two soldiers were killed.