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Parents of missing American Israeli describe texts during attack

The mother of a missing 23-year-old received two text messages as Hamas attacked a music festival on Oct. 7.
Parents of missing American Israeli describe texts during attack
Posted at 5:58 AM, Oct 24, 2023

Hersh Goldberg-Polin is believed to be one of the 10 American Israelis missing and possibly held hostage by Hamas.  

Goldberg-Polin spent part of his childhood in Richmond, Virginia, but moved to Israel with his family. 

An Instagram page called Bring Hersh Home documents the chaos and carnage the 23-year-old faced at a music festival on Oct. 7. The page includes the last text he sent to his mother, Rachel Goldberg, who was in Jerusalem during the countrywide red alert.

"I turned on my phone, and immediately, what had come in at 8:11 were two text messages from Hersh. One said, 'I love you,' and one said, 'I'm sorry,'" Goldberg told Scripps News' Jason Bellini. "As a mother, I knew immediately something horrible was happening."

SEE MORE: California man's mother among 2 hostages freed by Hamas amid war

Hersh Goldberg-Polin and other young people ran to a bomb shelter. A photo showed Goldberg-Polin crowded into the shelter where the group thought they were safe.

"What we ended up finding out from survivors inside that bomb shelter is that Hamas came to the doorway," Rachel Goldberg said. "They threw in a lot of hand grenades and bullets around the room, and most of them died. Most of the kids inside died. There were a few people trapped underneath the dead bodies." 

Goldberg-Polin managed to survive but is believed to have had his arm blown off during the attack.

"It's gruesome. It's not a video that any parent ever wants to see, but he is walking out of a bomb shelter on his own feet, under his own strength, with chaos around him," his father Jon Polin said. 

The family plans to travel to New York to meet with members of the United Nations. They are hopeful that he will safely return, but they're concerned that without medical treatment, time is running out. 

"When we found out that our son is officially listed as a hostage by the Israeli government, there were two options here," Polin said. "There's only two. He's dead, or his arm is blown off and he's been kidnapped," Goldberg added.

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