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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Waterford man to attend State of the Union address with families of hostages in Gaza

    Liat Beinin, who was released from captivity Nov. 29, 2023 after being kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7, 2023, and her husband, Aviv Atzili, who was killed in the attack, in an undated photo in New York City. (Courtesy of Jerry Fischer)

    Jerry Fischer of Waterford will be a guest at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. on Thursday along with families of American hostages taken by Hamas militants during their Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

    Fischer is the cousin of Liat Beinin, a mother of three who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz during the Oct. 7 attack that claimed the life of her husband Aviv Atzili. Beinin, 49, who has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, was released from captivity on Nov. 29.

    Fischer is the invited guest of Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who Fischer credits with taking swift action to ensure that Beinin’s release was high on the agenda of the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

    “I called him the minute I learned my cousin had been taken hostage,” Fischer said.

    Fischer said it is an honor to be among the invited guests and that he, the families of hostages and a majority of Israelis are hopeful for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza with the end goal of freeing the remaining hostages.

    Republican and Democratic members of Congress are being urged to join the families in wearing yellow ribbons and dog tags during the State of the Union address to draw attention to the ongoing hostage crisis in Gaza. There are still 134 people, including eight Americans, held hostage by Hamas terrorists.

    In a letter to members of Congress, the families of hostages urged legislators to show a firm commitment to do everything possible to secure the release of the hostages.

    “For nearly five months, Hamas terrorists have held our sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers ― eight of your fellow Americans ― captive in Gaza, where they are battling life-threatening injuries and facing torture, abuse, and starvation,” the letter reads. “ We have been living a nightmare since October 7, a nightmare now made worse by reports that Hamas has murdered at least 32 of the remaining 134 hostages.”

    Fischer said that Beinin is doing well under the circumstances.


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