newsIsrael at War

American-Israeli missing since Hamas attack declared dead

Judi Weinstein Haggai’s body is being held by Hamas in Gaza.

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

A 70-year-old American-Israeli teacher 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, her community announced on Thursday.

Judi Weinstein Haggai’s body is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, 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.

After lying on the ground when the Red Alert 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.

“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 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, who spent her childhood in Toronto, moved to Israel more than four decades ago. A mother of four and a grandmother of seven, she taught English for decades in the Western Negev, using music, art, dance and puppets in her classes.

Released captives Judi’s daughter met upon their return to Israel said they didn’t see her in Gaza.

On Thursday, she was confirmed to be dead.

“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.

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