Israel-Hamas War

Parents of Hamas hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin say why they wanted video of abduction released

Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg spoke to NBC News hours before a new video was released showing Hamas abducting their son from a music festival in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a 23-year-old Israeli American who was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, said Monday that newly released video of his abduction should serve as a “call of action” to do everything possible to free the remaining hostages.

“That’s our son,” Jon Polin told NBC News’ Matt Bradley in Jerusalem. “I want all viewers of this video to think in that kind of personal way about what we’re dealing with here, and maybe that can be a call of action to get them motivated to fight [and] do everything we can to bring home these hostages.”

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Jon Polin and his wife, Rachel Goldberg, spoke to NBC News hours before the Hostages and Missing Families Forum released a new video showing their son’s abduction from the Supernova trance music festival in southern Israel on Oct. 7. 

Read more on this story at NBCNews.com and watch “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT.

The graphic video recorded by Hamas and reviewed by NBC News journalists shows Goldberg-Polin in the bed of a pickup truck with part of one of his arms blown off. He is there alongside two other captives: Or Levy, 33, and Eliya Cohen, 26. The three men are bloody and appear dazed as the Hamas militants shout in Arabic and lift up their heads by their hair.

Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg, parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, speak with NBC News’ Matt Bradley in Jerusalem.
Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg, parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, speak with NBC News’ Matt Bradley in Jerusalem. (NBC News)

The forum said it made the video public after the Israel Defense Forces authorized its release. “This harrowing footage stands as a damning testament to the 262-day-long abandonment of our loved ones,” the forum said in a statement. “Hersh, Eliya, and Or were taken alive, and they must return alive, today.”

“Every day that passes puts the hostages at greater risk and diminishes our chances of bringing them back safely,” the statement goes on to say in part.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under growing pressure from the families of the hostages to prioritize the release of the remaining captives over destroying Hamas — the stated aim of his military campaign. 

Over the weekend, Netanyahu appeared to back further away from a cease-fire agreement with Hamas that is supported by the Biden administration, saying that the “intensive” phase of Israel’s war in Gaza would end soon and signaling that he would only accept a “partial” deal that would not end the war.

Ophir Falk, one of Netanyahu’s aides, said in an interview earlier this month that the Israeli leader had tentatively agreed to the Biden-backed framework but added that it was “not a good deal.”

A poster of Hersh Goldberg-Polin is displayed at a memorial site in Re'im, near to where Hamas fighters captured him.
A poster of Hersh Goldberg-Polin is displayed at a memorial site in Re'im, near to where Hamas fighters captured him. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP (File))

The forum condemned Netanyahu’s statement, saying it effectively “abandons 120 hostages and violates the state’s moral obligation to its citizens.”

Throughout the more than eight-month war, the parents of Goldberg-Polin and other families of hostages have repeatedly urged the Netanyahu government and the international community to focus on the plight of their loved ones.

“I’ve lived in this parallel universe of anguish for 262 days,” said Rachel Goldberg, one of the most vocal advocates for the hostages.

Jon Polin added: “These are real people — with dreams, with aspirations, with families waiting for them.”

Rachel Goldberg said that her husband and daughter viewed the newly released video Monday. “I chose not to see it,” she said. “My daughter told me, ‘Don’t watch it.’ She said you’ll see them yanking Hersh by the hair to, like, smile together, almost like for a selfie. She said, ‘It will only hurt you. It’s not going to help you.’”

"I want all viewers of this video to think in that kind of personal way about what we’re dealing with here," said Goldberg, seen here with her son and husband. (Courtesy of the Goldberg-Polin family)

In a third video released by the military wing of Hamas in late April, Goldberg-Polin speaks directly to the camera in Hebrew and angrily asks the Israeli government to bring home the hostages. The conditions under which he spoke were not clear and the date of the video’s recording was not known. 

It is likewise not clear whether he is still alive. In the video, Goldberg-Polin’s left arm was severed below his elbow.

Goldberg-Polin was among more than 200 people taken captive during the Oct. 7 terror attack, according to Israeli officials. Hamas militants killed more than 1,200 amid the attack, according to Israeli officials, leading to the war in the Gaza Strip. More than 37,000 people have been killed since Israel started its military campaign in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian enclave’s Health Ministry.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com. More from NBC News:

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