FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - In a historic move, an international summit addressing antisemitism is taking place for the first time in the United States, right here in South Florida. As leaders gather to discuss this pressing issue, heartbreaking stories emerge from the recent Hamas attacks on Israel.

On Oct. 7, the world witnessed the terrifying moments as 239 hostages were kidnapped from Israel and taken to Gaza during what was supposed to be a music festival for peace. For Natalia Casarotti and Diego Engelbert, these are the moments that changed their lives forever.

“People cannot go to dance and be killed because they go to dance,” Casarotti said.

Casarotti’s son, Keshet, was missing for four and a half days after attending the Supernova Festival. The murder of her son, whose name means “rainbow” in English, has given her the strength to share his legacy.

“The day after the funeral of my son, I felt inside, kind of a commitment to tell the story to make something meaningful from this,” Casarotti continued.

Engelbert is still awaiting news about his sister Karina Engelbert, her husband Ronen Engel, and their two daughters, Mika and Yoval. These individuals were among the victims of Hamas terrorists who killed or kidnapped a significant portion of the population in Kibbutz Nir Oz.

“Now it’s my only mission to bring them home,” said Engelbert.

Both shared their stories at the Mayor’s Summit against Antisemitism in Fort Lauderdale. The summit, attended by mayors from South Florida, Cleveland, Providence, Rhode Island, and Richmond, Virginia, aims to address the alarming increase in antisemitic events globally.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, inspired by his attendance at the first in-person summit in Greece last December, emphasized the importance of spreading the message.

“I realized that what I learned there, I needed to bring that message here to Fort Lauderdale and to America,” he said at the summit.

Sacha Roytman, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement, highlighted staggering statistics, citing a 500% rise in antisemitic events reported in the United States, 800% in the Netherlands, and 300% in Germany since the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel.

Engelbert focused on time as his sister battles recent recovery from breast cancer.

“I want my family back. That’s all we want,” he said.

As the summit continues, leaders aim to address the urgent need for international collaboration to combat the escalating threat of antisemitism. On Wednesday, organizers have a full day scheduled for the leaders attending the event. Additionally, the European Mayor’s Summit is scheduled for late November in Germany.

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