Family from New York holds out hope for soldier son being held hostage in Gaza

Josh Einiger Image
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Family with connection to Brooklyn holding out hope for son held hostage in Gaza
Josh Einiger reports from Jerusalem where he spoke to the family of a young man believed to be held hostage by Hamas.

JERUSALEM (WABC) -- There are families from the New York area that are holding out hope for their family members who are believed to be being held hostage by Hamas.

Itay Chen, 19, an American-Israeli dual citizen is believed to be among them.

He is a soldier with the Israel Defense Forces and was believed to have been taken hostage right when the attack by Hamas began, as he was guarding a post.

Itay's father Ruby is from Flatbush, Brooklyn. He says he is holding out hope for his son and hoping their happy memories will get him through this tough time.

"He hopefully, having New York DNA in him, and knowing and being in the United States many, many times. You know, we got to go to Fenway and saw Big Papi hit a home run, that's the memories that he remembers as well. Going to Boston Garden or to Madison Square Garden and seeing the Knicks, so those are the things that we kind of hold onto and say in that moment, in that second, that he needed to take care of himself that, that DNA that he was brought up on, that at least brought him to the situation, good situation, okay. He's being held hostage by the Hamas," Ruby said.

He went on to describe the kind of young man that Itay is, and his favorite memories with him.

"Itay, the kid that has always been giving and giving and giving to the community. He is a very avid NBA basketball fan like his dad, so growing up you know, I'm a New York Knicks fan, suffering New York Knicks fan, you might add to that, but of course, when the kid was growing up, Itay decided his idol would be Kobe Bryant. He became a Lakers fan, isn't that what kids do? Want to be rebellious," he said.

Ruby met with New York Governor Kathy Hochul and President Biden when they visited Israel on Wednesday.

He and his family continue to wait for word on Itay's condition.

WATCH: Eyewitness News Reporter Josh Einiger reports from Israel


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