New York boy taken hostage by Hamas: his family is in despair
A Long Island family has received official confirmation that their 21-year-old son is among more than 100 Hamas hostages, the New York Post reports.
On the evening of Monday, October 9, an Israeli consulate officer came to the home of Ronen and Orna Neutra in Melville and reported that their son Omer Neutra was in the hands of terrorists. “We were officially confirmed that he was considered abducted by Hamas, but were not given any further explanation,” Orna said.
Omer took a break from his studies, postponing his enrollment at Binghamton University, to join the Israeli army and follow in his parents’ footsteps. He began serving as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, then rose to the rank of tank commander.
The last time the parents spoke with their son was on Friday, October 6, several hours before Hamas dealt a crushing blow to the Jewish people. “He was looking forward to a quiet, relaxing weekend—Shabbat and Simchat Torah—and just relaxing with friends,” Ronen noted.
“Then all hell broke loose and we haven’t spoken since.”
When the parents first saw that something was happening in southern Israel, they desperately tried to call their son, but were never able to contact him. Two days later, one of Omer’s friends sent Ronen a video of the attack in which he thought he saw Omer.
The war hits home.
Ronen and Orna of Long Island are waiting news on their son Omer, who was kidnapped by Hamas this weekend.
This fight is our fight. It just is.
And we must bring every hostage home. pic.twitter.com/5LlwZjrdNZ
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) October 11, 2023
“I had to ask a good friend of mine to come and watch it,” he admitted. “I understood: this is something I’m not ready to look at.” The footage clearly shows Omer standing and walking.
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Later, the parents learned from another close friend of their son that Omer was in a tank that tried to protect the Gaza border, but he was forcibly taken out by terrorists. “They were prepared to defend the border, but unfortunately it looks like they were caught off guard,” Ronen suggested.
Omer grew up in Plainview, New York, and graduated with honors from Solomon Schecter Yeshiva in Williston Park. He was captain of the basketball, football and volleyball teams, and was active in several Jewish community organizations, including serving as regional president of METNY (Metropolitan New York Region of United Synagogue Youth).
“He is an American, a good Jewish boy who loves both America and Israel,” Omer’s father noted. “He was going to come back, and we want him to come back.”
Following news of the abduction, Ronen and Orna posted a statement on Facebook with the hashtag #BringOmerHome. “He is a natural leader, a great son, a friend and a passionately loyal person,” the statement said. “That’s exactly what he was doing on Saturday morning, October 7, on the Gaza border when Hamas captured him.”
“We ask Hamas leaders to treat Omer and all hostages humanely, in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
Solomon Schechter also released a statement saying he was “heartbroken” by the news of his graduation: “We join the Neutra family in being proud of this remarkable young man, a natural leader and a wonderful friend to all who know him.”
The family is calling on city, state and federal officials, including the Biden administration, to secure Omer’s release and ensure he is treated humanely. “This is an act of violence, and it is beyond reality,” Ronen said. – This is not a war. This is a criminal act on their part. They take children, old people and just act like a maddened crowd.”
Israel believes Hamas terrorists took at least 150 people hostage, most of them civilians. Terrorists are threatening to execute these people and post the videos on the Internet. Neutra is one of 97 families who received official notification that their loved one was among the prisoners.