Father of missing IDF soldier held hostage by Hamas pleads for U.S. government to do more

Josh Einiger Image
Friday, January 19, 2024
Exclusive: Father of soldier son held captive by Hamas speaks out
Josh Einiger has the exclusive interview.

UPPER EAST SIDE, New York (WABC) -- Thousands of miles from his Hamas hell, Ruby Chen's son, Itay Chen, stares back at him in the form of a kidnapped poster on the window of a New York City coffee shop.

It's the closest they've been together in 102 days.

"His room is like it is, intact," said Chen to Eyewitness News. "I'm waiting for him to come clean up his room. I'm not gonna clean it up for him."

Itay, 19, is an American-Israeli dual citizen.

He was serving with the Israel Defense Forces on Oct. 7 guarding a farming community in the south of Israel when scores of terrorists breached the border.

And like that, Itay was gone; one of a small group of American citizens taken captive and squirreled away somewhere in Gaza.

"There are eight U.S. citizens on top of the 35 U.S. citizens that were murdered by the Hamas organization," said Chen. "I ask my fellow Americans: is that cool? Do you accept that?"

Since Itay's capture, Ruby has not stopped moving.

He's been to the White House and the U.N and testified before Congress -- all to prod his government to do more.

"There needs to be the ability of the international community to say enough," he said. "I urge New Yorkers to call up your senator, call your congressman. Ask them not what you have talked about. Ask them what are you doing. Actions. How are you getting these U.S. citizens, New Yorkers, out of this hell that they're in?"

On Tuesday, Qatar announced an agreement to deliver medicine to the hostage.

"Get those hostages that today might be alive," pleaded Chen. "Maybe they won't be in a week from now, maybe a day from now, maybe an hour from now. So, there's a sense of urgency."

A sense of urgency for Ruby's teenaged son to finally come home -- and clean his room.

ALSO READ | Israel says Hamas has killed 2 of 3 hostages seen in recent videos

The fate of the third hostage is currently unknown.



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