The father of an American man believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas militants has said his “one mission” is to bring his son home safely as he urged people to “stop politicising” the ongoing hostage situation in the Middle East.
Jon Polin said that there is “no partial success” when it comes to finding his son Hersch Goldberg-Polin and that politicians should be “screaming” to get those held captive back to their families.
Hersch, 23, has not been heard from since the morning of Saturday 7 October when he was partying with hundreds of other ravers at the Supernova festival in northern Negev.
During the rave, Hamas militants stormed into Israel, killing hundreds and taking others captive in a surprise attack.
Speaking to Fox News, Mr Polin said he had confirmed through video footage that his son had been loaded onto a truck following the attacks.
Hersch has reportedly lost part of his left arm.
“I’ve said it now for 18 straight days, I’m here in the capacity of Hersch’s dad,” Mr Polin said. “I have one mission: get Hersch home.”
He added: “There’s no partial success here. There’s no 90 per cent success here. It’s either success or failure. And I want to bring Hersch home. It’s disheartening to hear how it’s so politicised.”
Over the last week, four hostages have been released by Hamas, following mediation from Qatar. Israeli officials have said that over 200 hostages were captured by Hamas – including Hersch.
“This is not just a question about Hersch, this is not only a question about Israeli citizens, there are 220 hostages representing 33 countries,” Mr Polin told Fox News.
“Let’s stop politicising this. Let’s turn this into what is a global humanitarian catastrophe and the whole world and foreign ministries. Ministers everywhere should be screaming to get these people out and don’t politicise them.”
Mr Polin added that other than confirming the reports of eye-witnesses about his son’s capture, the family “know nothing”.
“We have been looking for information and hoping that he has gotten medical care and that he is still alive and as okay as could be in these circumstances. But we know nothing,” he said.
Hersch was born in Berkeley, California, and moved with his family to Jerusalem when he was a small child. He went on to join the Army, training as a medic and tank driver in the 7th Armored Brigade. On completion of his Army service, he got a job as a waiter and was saving up for his lifelong dream of travelling to India.
His family previously revealed the heartbreaking final text messages he had sent them that day, in which he told them he loved them and that he was sorry.
Mr Polin told Fox News that the situation was “unimaginable” but that messages of support from around the world was helping the family cope with the situation.
“We can’t imagine the life we’re living. We wake up every day after barely sleeping. We continue the mission. Like I said, it’s either we succeed or we don’t there’s nothing in the middle and that is what carries us,” he said.
“It helps, hearing support and feeling love from around the world, hearing from people who we know, people who we don’t know… it all strengthens us… but you’re right, it is unimaginable.’
He added: “New cycles move quickly. We need to keep this on the agenda. Don’t forget about the hostages.”