NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Sarasota stepmom of man held hostage by Hamas attends State of the Union

Sagui Dekel-Chen, a dual citizen of Israel and the United States, was captured during the Oct. 7 attack
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Posted at 9:50 PM, Mar 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 23:10:40-05

SARASOTA, Fla. — A charming man with a magnetic personality. A loving husband. A father of three.

That’s how Gillian Kaye describes her step son, Sagui Dekel-Chen.

“Incredible father who loves — loves — his little girls,” she said.

Dekel-Chen was living with his family in Kibbutz Nir Oz in Israel until the morning of Oct. 7, 2023. As terrorists streamed across the border — killing civilians and burning homes — Dekel-Chen was one of the many who were captured.

“There were so many reasons to never envision that that could happen,” said his step mother. “The way that security was set up by the army, we could never have imagined in a million years that that would have happened.”

A dual citizen between Israel and the United States, Dekel-Chen is considered one of the six Americans still held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

According to Kaye, a previously released hostage reported that Dekel-Chen was alive and was being held in a tunnel underneath Khan Younis, but that info was shared months ago. They’ve heard nothing about his whereabouts or well-being since.

“We have to keep believing that he’s alive,” Kaye said. “Of course, we believe he’s alive.”

When President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address, Kaye will be in the room.

She lives in Sarasota and was invited by her Congressman, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), to help send a message to the President and the country.

“Don’t forget the hostages,” Kaye said. “Everyone needs to focus their energy on a ceasefire to get the hostages home.”

Kaye has been satisfied with the government’s efforts, but Steube believes more can be done.

“I can’t think, for the life of me, they don’t have an idea or know exactly where these people are being held, and we should send our special operators in to get them and get our American citizens back home,” Rep. Steube said.

However it’s done, Kaye said the time is of the essence.

“There’s no more time,” she said. There’s no more time. The time was up months ago. There’s not another minute, so I have to believe there will be a resolution to bring all of the hostages home alive tomorrow.”

According to Kaye, Dekel-Chen’s wife and children sheltered in their home’s safe room and somehow survived.

If and when Dekel-Chen is released, he will meet a new member of his family.

His third child was born a few months after his capture and was named Shachar, which means “Dawn” in English.