American Israeli hostage with ties to Orange County reported dead by hostage family groups
An American Israeli with ties to Orange County has become the first U.S. citizen confirmed to have died while being held hostage by Hamas.
Family had hoped Gadi Haggai would be found alive. They received word Friday from several international hostage groups, including Hostages and Missing Persons Families and Bring Them Home Now, that the 73-year-old has been reported as murdered by terrorists.
Haggai’s wife, Judhi Weinstein, 70, was born in Goshen. Weinstein is still believed to be alive and remains captive.
News 12 talked to their niece, Ofri Haggai, Nov. 9 when she flew to New York and met with Rep. Pat Ryan for help.
Ofri Haggai said the couple were shot in Kibbutz Nir Oz during a morning walk together Oct. 7 and taken hostage, and that the couple first saw rockets flying overhead, according to the final texts sent to their children. At the time, family members didn’t know if the couple were alive or dead.
Israeli officials confirmed to the couple’s family they called for help after the pair were ambushed but that emergency crews were unable to get to them in time.
At the time, family members didn’t know if the couple was alive or dead.
Ryan issued a statement on Friday saying, “My heart breaks for the Haggai’s, who grieve for Gadi while still praying for the safety of Judih. Gadi was not a soldier. He was a musician whose only crime was being Jewish. Hamas must release all hostages and return the victims’ bodies so the families can mourn properly.”
Gadi Haggai was a beloved father and uncle, as well as a gifted musician who played for the IDF orchestra.
His body is believed to still be held by Hamas in Gaza.