Survivors of Oct. 7 and families of hostages raise awareness in US

The visiting delegation hopes to spread awareness about the plight of over 100 hostages still held by Hamas.

Or Gat, who survived the Oct. 7 terror attacks, holds up a picture of his sister, Carmel Gat, who is being held hostage by Hamas. Credit: Courtesy of Jewish National Fund-USA.
Or Gat, who survived the Oct. 7 terror attacks, holds up a picture of his sister, Carmel Gat, who is being held hostage by Hamas. Credit: Courtesy of Jewish National Fund-USA.

A delegation of survivors of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, including family members of hostages held by the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas, are in the United States to share their plight with American audiences. Throughout June, the group from Kibbutz Be’eri, which lost one-in-10 members during Hamas’s onslaught, will visit communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Canada to raise awareness about the realities on the ground in Israel and expedite their loved one’s return.

“What we are doing now is thinking about our needs, like mental health,” said Kibbutz Be’eri’s resource development lead Yarden Tzemach. “We are a post-trauma community, and we will need treatment for years. We’ll also need playgrounds and open spaces for children who return to Be’eri to feel like children again.”

“The government will help rebuild the houses destroyed by Hamas, yet that will only bring us back to a situation like it was the day before the attacks,” explained delegation leader Ido Shwartz. “To bring people back, the kibbutz must become the most desirable place to live in Israel. Therefore, we are receiving support from Jewish National Fund-USA and others, whose vision aligns with ours.”

Since Oct. 7, Jewish National Fund-USA has raised over $60 million through its Israel Resilience Campaign to support immediate and long-term relief efforts in Israel, including philanthropic support for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. Nearly $2.2 million has also been raised to support Kibbutz Be’eri’s community and infrastructure rehabilitation. In addition, the organization has sent more than 3,500 American volunteers to Israel over the past eight months to support rebuilding efforts.

Kibbutz Be'eri delegation with JNF-USA Russell Robinson
Jewish National Fund-USA CEO, Russell F. Robinson (2nd from left) with members of the Kibbutz Be’eri delegation in New York. Credit: Courtesy.

“The communities that were attacked on Oct. 7 are like family to us,” said Jewish National Fund-USA tristate executive director Michael Feinman. “We have worked hand-in-hand with these towns and villages for two decades, building their communities and investing in their futures. Their pain is our pain, their tears are our tears, yet together, we will build a brighter future for them, their children and future generations.”

As disinformation about Israel continues to spread on college campuses and beyond, there has never been a more important time for Americans everywhere to hear firsthand accounts from Israelis who suffered from Hamas’ brutality.

To support Kibbutz Be’eri, see: jnf.org/beeri. To find a local event featuring the members of the delegation, visit jnf.org/inyourarea or call 1-800.JNF.0099.

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Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
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