hostage update

In new video from Oct. 7, hostages, including Hersh Goldberg-Polin, seen being driven to Gaza

The nearly two-minute video shows American-Israeli citizen Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Or Levy and Eliya Cohen on a truck bound for the enclave

HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images

A woman walks past a poster of U.S.-Israeli hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin plastered on a bus station near the US Consulate in Jerusalem on June 10, 2024.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum released footage on Monday of hostages Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Or Levy and Eliya Cohen moments after being kidnapped from a bomb shelter near the Nova music festival on Oct. 7.

In the video, Goldberg-Polin, a dual American-Israeli citizen, can be seen covered in blood, with a makeshift tourniquet wrapped around his left arm to stem the bleeding after a grenade exploded in the shelter in which he and others were hiding before being taken to Gaza. Levy and Cohen are also visible in the video, which runs for one minute and 45 seconds and appears to be taken by a GoPro affixed to a Hamas terrorist. Goldberg-Polin appears dazed but conscious in the video.

All three men are believed to be alive, more than eight months after they were taken to Gaza. A hostage video of Goldberg-Polin was released on April 24, providing the first sign of life from the 23-year-old since Oct. 7, when he appeared on a video being put onto a truck shortly after the shelter was attacked.

Goldberg-Polin’s mother, Rachel Goldberg-Polin, told Jewish Insider that her husband and daughter viewed the newly discovered footage after it was first brought to the families’ attention last week, but that she has opted not to, feeling that there was nothing to be gained from seeing months-old footage of her son’s trauma.

She drew a contrast between the new footage and the initial footage, which she viewed shortly after the attacks and which showed her son alive and injured.

“That was actually very helpful for us,” she said of the initial footage, “because it showed us that he was abducted. We did see the extent of his injury. That was important.”

But her husband and daughter advised her against watching the new footage, which did not provide any new information about her son’s condition.

“This is just watching the people who stole him sort of having fun with these young men in the truck,” she explained. “And it’s painful to watch people be tormented.”

The Goldberg-Polins were in Washington last week for a meeting on Capitol Hill with legislators and business leaders, including Palantir CEO Alex Karp, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Booz Allen Hamilton CEO Horacio Rozanski.

“That meeting was unique and really powerful,” she said, “to have so many senators and government spokespeople in a room along with CEOs of really formidable companies, and have everyone talk about how not only is this…a bipartisan issue, this is a human issue, and to have Albert Bourla put his hand down firmly on this extremely long table that we were sitting at and say, ‘How anyone can think that they are not responsible for being part of the solution to help get these 120 people free is beyond comprehension.’”

After the meeting, Bourla, who had previously met the Goldberg-Polins at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, posted a photo with Rachel. 

Recalling their first meeting, Goldberg-Polin said, “And as a father, he looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘I also have a 23-year-old son, and I can’t begin to comprehend and imagine what you’re going through.’ And there was just this moment of humanity, and he just became attached to these people.”

Upon their arrival back to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, the Goldberg-Polins, who each wear a piece of masking tape with the number of days their son has been in Hamas captivity, were photographed by another passenger on their flight pausing at a poster of their son on the ramp leading to the airport’s passport control area.

“My tradition is when I leave, I put my sticker on the picture of him when you’re going toward departures, and when we arrive back, I put a sticker on the picture. And that’s where someone caught me writing a new sticker to put up there. And it’s just remarkable, and I mean it in the actual definition of remarkable. It’s something to be remarked upon that there are so many people who have to actually pass photos of their loved ones who are still being held almost nine months.”

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.