Video released by Hamas of American from Chicago taken hostage at music festival on Oct. 7

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Thursday, April 25, 2024
Israeli hostage kidnapped by Hamas seen alive in video for 1st time since Oct. 7
Josh Einiger has more on the chilling video.

NEW YORK -- Family members are making a desperate plea after the release of a chilling new video of an American hostage in Gaza.

Hamas released video of 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin of Chicago on Wednesday.

He had this message for his family:

"I love you so much and miss you so much," Goldberg-Polin said. "I know you're doing your best to get me home as soon as possible. I want you to stay strong for me, and not stop until we all return home in peace."

It appears he recorded his message under duress -- showing him with his head shaven and his dominant hand missing after it was blown off as he was abducted from the Nova Music Festival on October 7.

But after 201 days, it appears to be proof of life of an American hostage in Gaza, and for his parents Jon and Rachel, it's a new reason to fight.

Hours later, they released their own video.

"Hersh if you can hear this, we have heard your voice today for the first time in 201 days and if you can hear us, I am telling you, we are telling you - we love you, stay strong, survive," they said.

They also plead with negotiators to get back to the table and end the madness that has consumed the Middle East.

"That includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas, and Israel," Jon Polin said. "Be brave, lean in, seize this moment and get a deal done to reunite all of us with our loved ones and end the suffering in this region."

Last week in Jerusalem, his parents described their frustration with the on again, off again negotiations that have left Hersh and 132 other hostages -- eight of them American -- still in captivity.

His parents spoke with ABC 7 New York Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger on his most recent trip to Israel.

"And I often wonder what does he know, I don't think that he knows very much," his mother Rachel Goldberg said. "What we want to do is lay on the floor in a ball weeping, but that won't save him, and it won't save any of them. And we have no choice and so we run, we run to the end of the Earth."

"Hersh, and the other 132, know that we are coming," Polin said.

Wednesday's news jolted Israelis into action and protests turned ugly near the prime minister's residence.

Friends of Hersh, and everyday people alike, massed spontaneously at the residence. A growing number of Israelis blame Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to secure the hostages' release.

But for Hersh's parents, after all this time, at least they know he's alive, and that he knows they are fighting for him.

Last week they shared one of their biggest fears is what he actually knows -- and if he thinks that he's the only one and no one cares about him.

New images have been released of an American taken hostage by Hamas.