Judi Weinstein Haggai, an Israeli-American in her 70s, has tragically become the second American hostage to die in the Gaza Strip, held captive by Hamas. The news of her death was announced by her community on Thursday. Judi and her husband, Gad Haggai, were both taken hostage following a deadly terror attack by Hamas-led forces on Israeli communities on October 7.
The couple, who resided in the southern Israeli Kibbutz Nir Oz near the Gaza border, were captured while on a morning walk. Their disappearance and subsequent deaths have been a source of deep sorrow for their community and family. The couple is survived by their children, who reside in Colorado, Singapore, and Israel.
Gad Haggai, Judi’s husband, was the first American hostage to die in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. His death was announced by the community a week prior to the confirmation of Judi’s demise. The couple’s passing has been mourned by many, including U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, who expressed their heartbreak and offered prayers for the Haggai family.
In addition to Judi and Gad, six other Americans are currently being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. These include Omer Neutra, Itay Chen, Sagui Dekel-Chen, Edan Alexander, Hersh Goldberg Polin, and Keith Samuel Siegel.
President Biden, in a statement, reaffirmed his commitment to working tirelessly to bring home all hostages. He had spoken with the Haggai couple’s daughter during a meeting with the families of hostages last week.
The deaths of Judi and Gad Haggai in the ongoing conflict underscore the grave dangers faced by hostages in volatile regions and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, with calls for the release of all hostages and efforts to bring peace to the region.