The father of an American believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas militants said his “one mission” is to bring his son home safely, as he urged people to “stop politicizing” the ongoing hostage situation in the Middle East.
Jon Polin said there is no “partial success” when it comes to finding Hersch Goldberg-Polin's son and that politicians should be “screaming” for those held captive to be returned to their families.
Hersch, 23, has not been heard from since Saturday morning, October 7, when he partied with hundreds of other ravers at the Supernova festival in the northern Negev.
During the rave, Hamas militants invaded Israel, killing hundreds and capturing others in a surprise attack.
Speaking on Fox News, Mr Polin said he confirmed via video that his son had been loaded into a truck after the attacks.
Hers is said to have lost part of his left hand.
“I've been saying this now for 18 days in a row, I've been here as Hers' father,” Mr. Polin said. “I have a mission: to take Hers home.”
He added: “There is no partial success here. There is no 90 percent success here. It's either success or failure. And I want to bring Hers home. It's disappointing to hear how it's so politicized.”
In the last week, four hostages were released by Hamas, after mediation by Qatar. Israeli officials have said more than 200 hostages were taken by Hamas – including Hersch.
“This is not just a question for Hers, it's not just a question for Israeli citizens, there are 220 hostages representing 33 countries,” Pollin told Fox News.
“Let's stop politicizing this. Let's turn this into a global humanitarian disaster and the whole world and foreign ministries. Ministers everywhere should be screaming to get these people out and not politicize them.'
Mr Polin added that apart from confirming eyewitness reports of his son's arrest, the family “doesn't know anything”.
“We are looking for information and hope he has received medical attention and is still alive and as well as he could be under the circumstances. But we don't know anything,” he said.
Hers was born in Berkeley, California and moved with his family to Jerusalem when he was a small child. He then joined the Army, training as a medic and tank driver in the 7th Armored Brigade. Upon completion of his military service, he took a job as a waiter and saved for his lifelong dream of traveling to India.
His family previously revealed the heartbreaking final messages he had sent them that day, telling them he loved them and was sorry.
Mr Polin told Fox News the situation was “unthinkable” but messages of support from around the world were helping the family cope.
“We cannot imagine the life we live. We wake up every day after just falling asleep. We continue the mission. Like I said, whether we succeed or not, there is nothing in the middle and that is what carries us,” he said.
“It helps, to hear support and to feel love from all over the world, to hear from people we know, people we don't know… it all makes us stronger… but you're right, it's unimaginable.”
He added: “The new cycles are moving fast. We need to keep this on the agenda. Don't forget the hostages.”