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Rubio Announces SOTU Guest: Aunt of American-Israeli Hostage in Gaza

Mar 6, 2024 | Press Releases

On October 7, 2023, 19-year old Itay Chen was stationed at Nahal Oz army base in southern Israel. This dual U.S.-Israeli citizen was on active duty, as part of a four-person tank unit. He was last heard from at 6:40 a.m. when Hamas terrorists invaded the Gaza border communities, including the area where Chen was stationed.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) invited Chen’s aunt, Esther “Etty” Israeli, to the State of the Union address. Etty Israeli, also a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, grew up in New York City before moving to Israel.

  • “Today marks 151 days since the horrific terrorist attack on Israel – an attack that killed nearly 1,200 people, including at least 32 Americans. The atrocities committed that day are indefensible, and Hamas is still holding more than 100 hostages, including Itay Chen.

  • “The pain and sorrow does not wane for the families of the victims. The uncertainty and grief can be paralyzing, especially for those like Etty Israeli still holding out hope that their loved ones will return home.

  • “The world cannot forget what happened on October 7th and who was responsible. Our public policy and our public comments must reflect that reality. And we cannot forget Itay and the others still held hostage by Hamas.” – Senator Rubio