Lake County Board members and other officials in Lake County say they unequivocally condemn the “horrific terrorist attacks” on Israel as a Deerfield High School graduate remains held hostage.
The officials issued a public statement Monday, just over a week after the Hamas militant group launched an attack on Israel.
“Murdering innocent civilians is never justified, and we are horrified by what we have seen. We know that many in our community have family, friends and other ties to Israel and the region,” the group of officials said.
Those included in the statement include all 19 members of the Lake County Board, including Board Chair Sandy Hart, along with numerous county elected officials.
The elected officials include Coroner Jennifer Banek, Circuit Court Clerk Erin Cartwright-Weinstein, Sheriff John Idleburg, Regional Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Karner, Treasurer Holly Kim, State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart and County Clerk Anthony Vega.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those who are feeling overwhelming loss and grief at this moment, we hope and pray for the safe return of the American and Israeli hostages, and peace for all,” the group said.
County officials said anyone who is struggling is encouraged to call or text 988, the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Natalie Raanan, 17, and her mother, Judith Raanan, who are both Evanston residents, recently went to Israel to visit family.
The 17-year-old girl, who is a recent Deerfield High School graduate, and her mother were taken hostage by the Hamas militant group on October 7.
Natalie, who is almost 18, and Judith were in Nahal Oz, which is near Gaza.
A vigil was held last week in Evanston for the mother and daughter.
Sarai Cohen, Judith’s sister, said her sister and niece were visiting to celebrate their mother’s 85th birthday and to spend time with family during the Jewish holidays.
The family said the Israeli government confirmed Judith and Natalie were taken hostage.
Avi Zamir, Judith’s brother, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the two are alive but their condition was not known.
“We hope they are well, and we hope they are together,” Zamir told the Sun-Times. “We are just praying for their well-being and pray for them to have courage,” he added.
U.S. President Joe Biden said that he spoke Friday morning with family members of Americans who are still unaccounted for following the attack in Israel.
“I assured them of my personal commitment to do everything possible to return them to their families. We won’t stop until they’re home,” Biden said.