Goshen native, husband believed to be among Hamas hostages
A missing Israeli couple with ties to Orange County were among the first injured in the Hamas terror attacks in Israel last month, according to their niece, who says the retirees may now be held hostage by Hamas.
“My aunt and uncle went to their daily walk and never came back," says Ofri Haggai.
Gadi Haggai, 72, and Judih Weinstein-Haggai, 70, last sent texts to their children that they were face down in a field on Oct. 7 while rockets flew overhead on their morning walk outside of Kibbutz Nir Oz.
“My aunt managed to film it,” says Haggai. “A few minutes after, she called paramedics of Kibbutz and told them she was shot.”
The couple’s niece says they were ambushed and gunned down by terrorists near their home and that their phones were found in Gaza.
“We believe they are in Gaza now held hostage, but we don’t know,” says Haggai. “We have no clue what happened to them or where they are. They've been badly wounded and she asked for help. That was the last time anyone ever heard from them."
Judih was born in Goshen, New York and the couple have dual American Israeli citizenship. Gadi Haggai is a gifted musician and chef; his wife is a retired English teacher and works as a mindfulness coach for children.
Their niece flew to the U.S. from Israel Oct. 31 to raise awareness to their plight and is getting help from Rep. Pat Ryan after meeting with him in Washington D.C.
“We cannot forget, we do not forget, these hostages whether they are Americans or Israelis,” says Rep. Ryan. “We have to get them home.”
Ryan is on the Congressional Armed Services Committee and says they’re in constant contact with military and FBI forces trying to locate hostages during diplomatic negotiations.
In the meantime, Haggai is praying her family is safe and hopes somehow, they realize she’s looking for them.
“I want them to know I love them, that we miss them,” Haggai says. “The entire family is waiting for them to come home, and we are not going to stop until they’re brought home safely.”
Haggai says they’re hoping Hamas will allow the Red Cross to visit hostages and are praying for proof of life.