Other Eastern CT relatives also captured and killed.
Jerry and Chris Fischer were grateful Wednesday evening (Nov. 29) for his cousin’s release from Hamas. They are now mourning after learning that her husband was killed.
Liat Beinin, who holds dual Israeli American citizenship, and her husband, Aviv Atzili, were victims of the Oct. 7 massive terror attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz. Their two sons, Ofri (22) and Netta (20) survived by locking themselves in their safe rooms; their daughter Aya (18) was doing a year of service on Kibbutz Lotan and avoided the attack.
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) was key to getting Liat and Aviv’s case before the State Department and the President. Liat, who was captured and held hostage in Gaza, became the second American to be released by Hamas on Nov. 29. The third American Israeli woman held hostage, in violation of the agreement brokered Qatar, has not been released.
One day after being returned to Israel Liat, while still in the hospital, learned that her husband Aviv Atzili was pronounced dead, killed on October 7. He had apparently been shot in the head and his body taken to Gaza. He was identified via DNA evidence collected from a wall in the kibbutz and from a fence on the border with Gaza. The body has not been returned.
A small funeral was held for Aviv on the kibbutz this past Sunday, which still remains within a closed military zone.
“Can you imagine she gets released, she gets reunited with her children, with her parents, with her mother-in-law and then she learns that her husband died,” said Jerry Fischer, Beinin’s cousin.
“Today’s news that Liat Beinin’s husband, Aviv Atzili, was killed by Hamas attackers at the Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7 is heartbreaking and infuriating,” Courtney said in a written statement last Thursday. “The willful inability of Hamas to account for its despicable assault left Aviv’s family totally in the dark about his whereabouts over the last seven weeks. The relief Liat and her family in Israel and Connecticut experienced upon her release is now buried in grief. As Liat’s father powerfully stated, ‘Revenge, anger – certainly not religious fanaticism—are not parts of a viable agenda to end this nonsense in the Middle East. This can’t go on like this.’”
Fischer said he grew very close with the Beinin-Atzili family when they stayed in Waterford with him over the summer.
“My cousin Yehuda Beinin, from Kibbutz Shomrat, and his family from Nir Oz spent five days in eastern Connecticut with us this August,” Fischer said in a written statement on Wednesday. “We grew very close to them as they walked with us in Harkness Park, dined with us, and shared birthdays with us in Noank. As soon as we heard of their capture we reached out to our Congressman, Joe Courtney and he did everything possible to keep Liat and Aviv’s capture high on the agenda of the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. We cannot thank him and his staff enough for their dedication and diligence in the efforts to free the hostages.”
Liat is a teacher and an educator/guide at Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Jerusalem. Her husband was an artist and mechanic.
The two, who are both 49, met as youth counselors for the Youth Movement Hashomer Hatzair.
Kibbutz Nir Oz was a small kibbutz of 400 souls. After the attack it is now reduced by nearly half. In a remarkable coincidence, three families from eastern Connecticut have relatives on that kibbutz who were captured. Two of them have been killed. In addition to Jerry’s relatives, Romana Strochlitz Primus has an elderly cousin, Chaim Peri (92) who is held hostage and Rabbi Susan Schein has two cousins who were taken, Nili Margalit (47), who was returned after 55 days, and her father, Eliyahu (75) who was declared dead, and his body remains in Gaza.
WTNH, Channel 8 contributed to this article.