Berkeley native Hersh Goldberg-Polin was taken hostage in Israel on October 7 and even had his arm blown off in the process, but a new-proof-of-life video from Hamas, which appears to have been shot Wednesday, shows him very much alive.

In the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and taking of some 200 hostages, we learned that Berkeley-born 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin was among those hostages taken at an Israeli music festival. Goldberg-Polin’s arm was reportedly blown off in the Hamas attack, as he was throwing back a grenade that had been thrown into his hiding space, but CNN confirmed he was still alive two weeks later. We have not heard more about his condition since.

But on the 200th day since those hostages were taken, CBS News reports that Hamas released a hostage video of Goldberg-Polin Wednesday. It was released via the social media channels of Al-Qassam Brigades, which is generally a Hamas propaganda source.


In the video, Goldberg-Polin specifically cites the 200-day mark (which would have been Wednesday), and acknowledges it currently being Passover. Obviously, the condition of his arm and overall health are a major concern, and snippets of the video on NBC News show that his hand is missing, and he’s lost his arm from the elbow down. KTVU adds the video was about three minutes long, spoken in Hebrew, but with English subtitles.

“I love you so much and miss you,” Goldberg-Polin says to his family in the video, according to the New York Times. “It won’t be a happy [Passover] holiday for me, but I wish you one.”

According to CBS News, this is the first video of a hostage US citizen that Hamas has released  during this 200-day conflict. A total of five US citizens are believed to be in Hamas captivity, but still alive.

Goldberg-Polin’s Berkeley-based parents, who have been actively speaking with the media, released statements upon the video’s release.

“We are here today with a plea to all of the leaders of the parties who have been negotiating to date — this includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas and Israel — be brave, lean in, seize this moment and get a deal done to reunite all of us with our loved ones and end the suffering in this region,” his father Jonathan Polin said in the statement, per the Times.

The video appears to have been edited, and Goldberg-Polin seems coerced to criticize the Netanyahu government, saying they should be "ashamed." The Times adds that “Israeli officials have called the videos a form of 'psychological warfare,' and experts say their production can constitute a war crime.”

As NBC News notes, there are 133 hostages still in Gaza, with 36 other hostages confirmed dead. From a broader standpoint, about 1,200 Isrealis were killed on October 7, and the Gaza Health Ministry estimates that some 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict.  

Related: Berkeley Native Believed to Be Among Hostages of Hamas Invasion, His Arm Reportedly Blown Off [SFNews]

Image: @MightyOakTree2 via Twitter