The families of Americans held hostage in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in southern Israel have released a television ad to press for urgent action to rescue their loved ones.
The 30-second spot, which is set to air on cable networks and during Sunday network news programs in the United States for the next several weeks, shows grainy images of the hostages being seized by Hamas militants, and black-and-white images of the captive Americans.
“Sons, brothers, fathers, Americans. Brutalized, murdered. Act now or more will die,” a narrator says. “Every second counts. Do everything. Bring them home now.”
More than 1,200 people were killed in the Oct. 7 attacks, and about 240 people were abducted to Gaza, according to Israeli officials. A weeklong pause in the fighting in late November led to the release of 105 people, mostly women and children. Officials say about 130 people, including eight Americans, are still hostages.
Orna Neutra, whose son, Omer, 22, grew up on Long Island in New York before moving to Israel to serve in the military, said she hoped the ad would help remind other Americans of the suffering eight of their fellow citizens continued to endure.
“I’m not sure how many people realize that there are American hostages that are being held in Gaza,” she said in an interview.
“With all the noise on social media — who’s right and who’s wrong and where the justice is — I think we’re losing sight of where this all started and the fact that there are still almost 140 hostages being held there against their will, with no sign of life, with no medical attention, in complete darkness,” she added.
The ad was produced and paid for by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a group set up in Israel after the Oct. 7 attacks.
Edan Alexander, from New Jersey, recently spent his 20th birthday in captivity. He, like Omer Neutra, was serving in the Israeli military on the border with Gaza when the attacks took place. His mother, Yael Alexander, said she and the families of other hostages believed the television ad could help keep pressure on the governments in the United States and Israel to secure the captives’ freedom.
“It’s just to make clear that the time is running out,” she said. “We need to bring all the hostages home now. We need Edan back to us, like to the family. We are broken now, and we want to feel whole again.”