Relatives of four American citizens who are missing or believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas during Saturday’s attacks on Israel pleaded with authorities in the United States and Israel to help find and bring back their loved ones in a news conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“I think after more than three days now it is more than a reasonable request to have somebody from the Israeli government or the U.S. administration approach us with any type of information,” said Nahar Neta, whose mother, Adrienne, has been missing since Saturday morning.
Mr. Neta fought back tears as he described being on the phone trying to calm his 66-year-old mother, who was born and raised in California, as Saturday’s attack unfolded. His siblings were on the phone with her as attackers broke into her home in Be’eri, a kibbutz near the border with Gaza. He said they heard screaming and have not heard from her since.
“It is our hope, which is a little bit ridiculous at this stage to say, that the optimistic scenario here is that she’s held hostage in Gaza and not dead on the street of the kibbutz where we grew up,” he said.
He said the U.S. government had a responsibility to return its citizens “safe and sound.”
Rachel Goldberg said she woke up on Saturday in Jerusalem to the sound of sirens warning of incoming rocket fire. Her 23-year-old son, Hersh Golberg-Polin, was at a music festival near Gaza’s border. When she turned her phone on 10 minutes later, she saw two consecutive text messages from him that read “I love you” and “I’m sorry.”
Mrs. Goldberg — who moved with her family from California to Jerusalem in 2008 — has not heard from her son since. She said the only thing the police could tell her was that his last known cellphone signal was on the border with Gaza. Sitting next to her, her husband struggled to hold back tears.
Ruby Chen said his 19-year-old son, Itay, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen who was serving in the Israeli army, had been missing since Saturday. He pleaded with President Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to “do what they can to make this end for us as soon as possible.”
Jonathan Dekel-Chen, a resident of the kibbutz Nir Oz who is not related to Ruby Chen, said he believed his 35-year-old son, Sagi, was “an arm-lengths away in Gaza, evidently, but couldn’t be farther from me and our family right now.” He noted that Sagi, who he said tried to repel the attack on Saturday, was the father of two daughters and that his wife was pregnant with their third.
Mr. Dekel-Chen, who grew up in Connecticut, said that the kibbutz was “destroyed in a barbaric, inhumane attack in which dozens of my friends, my neighbors, were killed.”