Hamas killed my parents. Now they are holding their bodies hostage in Gaza

Hamas killed my parents.  Now they are holding their bodies hostage in Gaza

For 83 terrible days we kept hoping that my parents were among the surviving hostages.


Eight months – more than 250 days – and the international community has watched Hamas hold my parents’ remains hostage while terrorism won.

This time of year is filled with opportunities to express gratitude and love for parents – with Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June and the United Nations’ Global Parents’ Day on June 1. These holidays are about recognizing the hard work and sacrifices parents make for their families, but for me and my three siblings, they now come with unfathomable tragedy.

My parents – two of the eight Americans taken hostage in Gaza – were on their morning walk through the fields of Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7 when hundreds of Hamas terrorists stormed the area and dragged my parents into Gaza.

For more than 80 terrible days we kept hoping that they were among the surviving hostages. That was until Israeli intelligence and the FBI confirmed my worst fears: the terrorists had brutally murdered my mother, 70-year-old Judy Weinstein, and my father, 72-year-old Gad Haggai. They now hold their bodies captive as a bargaining chip and as a sick trophy to commemorate the death and destruction they caused.

The US should help free Hamas hostages: For five months we thought our son was still alive. Release Hamas hostages and spare others our pain.

Hamas killed more than a thousand innocent people and took hundreds of others hostage on October 7.

My kibbutz has become a community of refugees

Before their attack, my kibbutz was a quiet place full of families actively working for peace. Now more than a quarter of the residents have been murdered or taken hostage. More than half of the houses were burned down, some with families still inside.

Today, my kibbutz stands empty – those who survived the massacre are now a community of refugees with no stability, no future to plan, looking for a place to call home again.

More than eight months since October 7, no international aid organization has visited the hostages. The International Committee of the Red Cross has not provided any evidence of life, medicine or care. It took the UN Security Council more than seven months to convene a meeting for the hostages. Women’s organizations remain silent even after new video showed Hamas torturing seven female hostages.

Daily threat of sexual violence: Hamas hostages in Gaza continue to suffer sexual violence. Believe the survivors.

The fate of Hamas hostages could change at any second

As we passed the 200-day mark, a coalition of 18 countries led by the United States released a joint statement on April 25 demanding the immediate release of all hostages. It was one of the strongest responses to the hostage crisis since October 7.

On May 31, President Joe Biden called on the world to pressure Hamas to accept a ceasefire deal: “Anyone who wants peace now must raise their voices and let the leaders know they want this deal must accept.” Just days later, the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries released a statement calling on Hamas to accept this agreement.

This is momentum, and the international community cannot let it go unchecked. We must use it to get our loved ones home and work for peace in the region. As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Egypt last week, regional governments must “put pressure on Hamas to say yes.”

This crisis is not political. It is a global humanitarian issue, a global threat. The reality is that no one can guarantee that October 7 will not happen again. In fact, it seems closer than ever.

On October 7, dozens of Americans were massacred. It can happen anywhere in the world, and tragically, Americans have experienced it firsthand.

Hamas is allied with the Iranian regime, and while I cannot thank the Biden administration enough for all it is doing, it is time for the United States to urge all G7 leaders to include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps terrorist organizations, deprive them of their income, impose sanctions on them and their allies, and continue to lead to a terror-free world.

Time is up; the fate of the hostages could change at any second. It has been too long. Let me and my siblings mourn the loss of our parents. Please give all world leaders the opportunity to heal and live the life they wanted for us. Take them home.

Iris Weinstein-Haggai is the daughter of 70-year-old Judy Weinstein and 72-year-old Gad Haggai, who were killed in the October 7 Hamas attacks.