Family members of Israeli hostages who were taken by Hamas Oct. 7 spoke at a Texas church Sunday and urged Christians to support the Jewish state and to speak up for the hostages, calling the ongoing war a “battle between good and evil.”
Hamas terrorists still brutally hold over 100 people hostage, including family members of those in the Dallas/Ft. Worth community. This morning, we welcomed family members of those held by Hamas to church to tell their stories. Please watch & please pray for these captives to be… pic.twitter.com/Mfb8UdgnCr— Jack Graham (@jackngraham) January 28, 2024
Dalia Cusnir spoke at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, telling members she was the voice for her two brothers-in-law, Eitan Horn, 37, and Yair Horn, 45. They are siblings of her husband.
“This is not about right wing, left wing,” Cusnir said. “... They want to destroy the Jewish people and not only the Jewish people. So we need your help.”
Eitan was visiting Yair at his home near the Gaza border the weekend of the attack by Hamas, a terrorist group.
“When the terror attack started at 6:30 a.m., I was home. We live in the center of Israel. We went to our safe room, we closed the door, we took my kids,” Cusnir said.
She and her husband called Eitan and Yair at 6:30 a.m. and then at 7:30 a.m. Each time, the two men said they were safe.
“And then they just stopped answering us. We had no clue what's going on.”
That night, members of the Israeli IDF phoned Cusnir and her husband to tell them no one was at Yair’s home. They had been taken hostage.
More than a month later -- during a wave of hostage releases -- Cusnir and her family learned the two men were still alive.
“They're being held since Oct. 7 in tunnels under the earth with no air or food or medicine,” she said. “We know nothing. We hope and pray that they're still alive.”
Another Israeli citizen, a woman named Liel, spoke to Prestonwood church members, telling them she was speaking for her cousin, Carmel Gat, 39, who is being held in Gaza. Gat’s mother was one of more than 1,000 killed during the attack.
“Carmel is still being held hostage in Gaza,” Liel said. “She's only six months older than me. We used to have sleepovers together at her grandparents in Israel. She's an occupational therapist.”
In November, Liel learned that Gat was being held alongside children.
“We know [this] because when …these kids were released in November, they said, ‘Oh we were with Carmel. She was doing yoga with us to help keep us grounded, to help get our mind off of things. And she said to pass along that she is safe, and she is healthy.’ But that is the last we heard from her,” Liel said. “And we don't know if she is still there, if she is alive, if she is healthy, if she is safe, but we pray that God is watching over her and everyone's family.”
Liel asked Christians to support the hostages.
“We still have family who are being held hostage,” Liel said. “...This is not politics. This is not left, right. This is not Jewish, Christian. This is good and evil. It is a battle between good and evil. And we need you all every day. Be vocal, be supportive. …If you hear somebody talking about Israel, go into that conversation. If you see somebody post something online, interject in that. We need your support. We need your help, because this isn't just affecting us. This is affecting the world.”
Prestonwood Baptist Church is where Jack Graham serves as pastor.
Image credit: jackngraham and presontwoodplanocampus / Instagram
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.