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Itay Chen

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Itay Chen, an Israeli-American-German citizen, lived in Netanya with his parents and siblings, after they made Aliya from New York. Itay is an extraordinary individual. He dedicated years to the Boy Scouts and passionately mentored children in his community.
Itay is a professional basketball player! Itay’s mother, Hagit, told us about a beautiful project the family has started: they have a hashtag #hoopsforitay Where they ask anyone in the world who loves basketball, such as Itay, to do an amazing shot on Itay's behalf and share it with all of us in this hashtag.
Itay was at his base on the Gaza border at the time of the Hamas attack on October 7, waiting to return home for his younger brother's bar mitzvah that weekend. Itay's father, Ruby, said his last contact with his son was on Saturday, when the two had a very brief conversation in which Itay said his base was under attack. Itay was seen two hours after that call, but has not been seen ever since.
Ruby describes Itay as determined and naturally tough and he believes that whatever he is going through now, Itay will overcome. "Hopefully some of that DNA of being a New Yorker has rubbed off on him, especially now with what he has to deal with. New Yorkers are tough," he said. "We think he's tough and he's taking care of himself as best he can."
We hope that Itay’s family will soon be able to take him to basketball games in the NBA and in Europe, just like they used to do before.

Heart-breaking announcement on 12/3/24
"With great sorrow, the army showed us new intelligence findings that confirm the worst. Thank you all for the endless support and embrace. Hagit and Ruby."
On Tuesday March 12, 2024, the IDF announced the death of Staff Sergeant Itay Chen, a soldier in Battalion 75 of Brigade 7. Itay was killed in combat on October 7th, and his body was taken into Gaza.
Itay had American citizenship, and his family met with US President Joe Biden. Following the announcement of Itay’s death, Biden wrote: “Jill and I are devastated to learn that American Itay Chen was killed by Hamas during its brutal terrorist assault,” Biden said in a statement. “I reaffirm my pledge to all the families of those still held hostage: we are with you. We will never stop working to bring your loved ones home.”
Itay’s father, Ruby, stated in a declaration to the media that the family would not conduct a funeral until the return of their son for burial. He calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reach a deal that would secure the release of the captives held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "The family’s journey is not over," Ruby said. "We have decided to wait to sit Shiva until the return of Itay. We will continue the fight with all the families to bring about a deal now. An opportunity now exists to reduce the suffering of my family and all the other affected families. I call on the Prime Minister and the government - do everything in your power to bring about a deal, to allow us and the other families to receive the basic right that is due to us, which is to have our loved ones returned home."
"Our hearts are broken, we loved our son so much and would have done everything to bring him back home alive," the family added. "Itay was the bright light of our family and his friends. He loved playing basketball with his brother. We are grateful to the Biden administration and to members of Congress in the US, from both parties, for their unwavering support and prayers over the last 158 days. Today, more than ever, we expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden to do everything in their power to bring Itay and the other 133 captives back home."
Itay left behind his loving parents, Hagit and Ruby; his brothers, Ro'i and Alon; his partner, Neta, and a heart-broken nation.


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Itay was kidnapped by Hamas, and later his family was informed that he was killed.
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