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Judi Weinstein Haggai and her husband, Gad. Photo: Courtesy. Facebook Twitter

American-Israeli grandmother held hostage declared dead

A 70-year-old American teacher and grandmother who was shot by Hamas terrorists when out for a walk with her husband at their kibbutz on the morning of Oct. 7 has been declared dead, it was announced Thursday.

Judi Weinstein Haggai’s body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, along with that of her husband, Gad Haggai, who was fatally wounded in the attack.

The couple, both nature and sports enthusiasts, were out on their regular sunrise walk at Kibbutz Nir Oz when Hamas terrorists rained thousands of missiles on Israel and stormed the border along with thousands of Gaza citizens.

After lying on the ground when the air raid siren sounded, Judi began texting with her daughter on WhatsApp, and then connected with emergency officials to report that her husband had been gravely wounded by Hamas terrorists.

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“They came on the street. There were many motorcyclists with automatic weapons. They shot us. We laid down. They shot me in the face and hand,” she told the Magen David Adom emergency service.

“They shot you too?” the dispatcher asks.

“Yes, I’m hurt.”

“Where did they shoot you?”

“They shot me in the face and hand,” Judi repeats.

The ambulance dispatched to them never made it—it was hit by gunfire killing the first responders and then burned,

“She just happened to be on this walk,” Judi’s cousin Ariel Duckler Levy told JNS earlier this month. “She was in such good shape.”

The New York native moved to Israel more than four decades ago. A mother of four and grandmother of seven, she taught English for decades in the Western Negev, and would use music, art, dance and puppets in her classes.

“She was a poet and an entrepreneur who loved to create and was dedicated to working for peace and friendship,” Kibbutz Nir Oz said in a statement.

JNS.org | by Etgar Lefkovits | Used with permission

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