trip talk

In Israel’s south, Pompeo calls for ‘collective efforts’ to bring hostages home

The former secretary of state called the trip ‘the most poignant and the most heartbreaking’ visit he’s made to the Jewish state

Yossi Sagol (left) speaks to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Israel this week for what he described as “the most poignant and the most heartbreaking” of all his visits to the Jewish state. The trip marked the former diplomat’s first time in the country since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks.

On Monday, the former secretary of state and his wife, Susan, met with the families of hostages still being held in Gaza. On Tuesday, Pompeo visited the southern Israeli community of Kfar Azza, where more than 60 residents were killed on Oct. 7. Five of the 18 kibbutz residents taken hostage remain in captivity in Gaza.

“What happened on October 7th was so shocking and so sadistic that the trauma is felt constantly, everywhere by everyone,” Pompeo said. “And yet, their resilience is truly inspiring. Every Israeli continues to sacrifice and give so much to help their countrymen and defend their nation. The ongoing tragedy of hostages held in Gaza demands our collective efforts to bring them home.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with the families of hostages while on a visit to Israel.

He then traveled to the site of the Nova music festival, near Kibbutz Re’im, where hundreds of concert-goers were killed. From Re’im, Pompeo, accompanied by businessman Yossi Sagol, went to Ofakim, where he met with the southern town’s mayor before meeting with a cohort of Israeli mayors who are members of the Bloomberg Sagol Center for City Leadership, a joint project between Sagol and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help leaders of local municipalities address issues in their cities and towns.

Pompeo also met with soldiers in a meeting coordinated by Rabbi Shai Graucher’s Standing Together organization, which formed in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks to assist those most affected by the war. In a video shared with JI, Pompeo is seen dancing with soldiers. “You should know that America stands with you,” Pompeo told the group.

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