LONDON (AP) — His mother describes Hersh Goldberg-Polin as like a lot of other young people.
The 23-year-old from Jerusalem loves music, wants to see the world and, now that he’s finished his military service, has plans to go to university, his family says. But first he has to come home.
Goldberg-Polin was last seen on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants loaded him into the back of a pickup with other hostages abducted from a music festival where at least 260 people were killed.
Despite those harrowing accounts, his mother, Rachel Goldberg, holds out hope she will see him again.
“He’s a survivor,” Goldberg said of her son, whose grin beams out from behind a sparse, youthful beard in family photos. “He’s not like this big, bulky guy. But I think that survival has a lot to do with where you are mentally.”
Born in Berkeley, California, Goldberg-Polin moved to Israel with his family when he was 7 years old.
As a child, he wanted to learn about the world, poring over maps and atlases to learn the names of capital cities and mountains. Later he became a fan of psychedelic trance music and once took a nine-week trek through six European countries so he could attend a series of raves along the way.
Not surprising then, that he and some friends headed to the Supernova music festival, billed as a place “where the essence of unity and love combines forces with the best music.”
That vibe was shattered by gunmen who stormed into Israel from the nearby Gaza Strip.
Witnesses said Goldberg-Polin lost part of an arm when the attackers tossed grenades into a temporary shelter where people had taken refuge, but he tied a tourniquet around it and walked out of the shelter before being bundled into the truck.
Family and friends have organized the “Bring Hersh Home” campaign on social media, hoping that he will still be able to take a planned backpack trip through southern Asia.
But first his mother hopes someone helps her son.
“It will require like the biggest heroism and strength and courage, but I want someone to help out and I want someone to help all of those hostages.”