Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) has been incredibly honored to help a coalition of American-Israeli families meet with over twenty Members of Congress in the past month. These families have courageously shared the stories of their family members who are current hostages of Hamas. It would be easy to overlook these meetings, but their impact should not go unnoticed. It is significant for the members, and it comes at a price for the families. Every time the families share their stories, they must relive the all too recent horrific attacks that have been committed against their family members, all of whom are still being held captive.
Take, for example, the story of sweet Abigail, a three-year-old American-Israeli citizen, daughter, and sister of two siblings. On that fateful October 7 day, her siblings locked themselves in a closet while their mother was killed by a Hamas terrorist in their own home. Abigail’s father took her and started running out of the house when he too was killed by Hamas. Abigail stumbled into a neighbor’s home where they graciously took her in, only to be taken hostage by Hamas alongside that home’s mother and children. Abigail has not been seen since.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) met with CWALAC’s CEO and President, Penny Nance, Abigail’s family, and another family whose cousin is a current hostage of Hamas. It was emotional to see the pain that flashed across Leader Scalise’s face as he listened to the gruesome violence little Abigail has had to endure, made worse by the reality that she is still a hostage. As the families concluded their stories, Leader Scalise was resolute in his support for Israel, including bringing every hostage home.
The Leader was happy to share the House’s recent activities supporting Israel in light of Hamas’ egregious attack. For example, just last week the House of Representatives voted on H.Res. 798, a resolution that condemns the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education which may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty, and staff. The resolution passed with bipartisan support; however, we were saddened to see that 22 Democrats and 1 Republican voted in opposition to this commonsense resolution. He went on to share about the Israel aid package that passed the House that is now in the Senate chamber. Leader Scalise then personally invited us to the House gallery to see his bill, H.R. 3774, receive a vote on the House floor. The bill would impose additional sanctions with respect to the importation or facilitation of the importation of petroleum products from Iran. Leader Scalise shared with us that he believes Iran is using these funds to largely fund Hamas. From the House gallery, CWALAC, alongside our American-Israeli friends, watched the Leader’s bill pass with bipartisan support, even turning to us in the gallery, with a big wave and thumbs up.
Our American-Israeli friends have shown us just how important it is to share with people the names, faces, and stories of those who have unjustly been taken from their homes at the hands of Hamas – wives, sons, daughters, and cousins. At the end of every congressional meeting, we challenge the members to be storytellers, to not let Abigail’s story end with them. We have been honored to play a small role in Abigail’s story being shared and are praying daily that Abigail and all the hostages will be brought home. CWALAC will continue to work with these families until every Member of Congress knows the names of those who are still hostages, and they are all brought back home safely.