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Father of hostage held by Hamas says it's 'urgent' they all be freed

Ruby Chen's son, Itay, was taken captive by Hamas along with hundreds of others on Oct. 7. He doesn't know if his son is even still alive.
Posted at 11:52 AM, Dec 20, 2023

It’s been 74 days since Ruby Chen’s son, Itay, was taken hostage by Hamas, and he doesn’t even know if he’s still alive. 

The 19-year-old was serving with Israel Defense Forces at the country’s southern border when he was captured by Hamas and taken hostage into Gaza along with hundreds of others on Oct. 7, according to his father. 

Itay is one of eight American citizens still being held captive by Hamas, Ruby said. 

In an interview with Scripps News, Ruby said his son is “multi-talented” and the “life of the party.” 

Itay Chen (Missing Persons Center)

He said his son can sing, dance and knows an array of card tricks. He hopes, perhaps, Itay was able to get his hands on a deck of cards and is keeping everyone’s minds busy by showing off his card magic as they remain captive. 

“Itay, look, we’re doing everything we can to get you back here,” said Ruby. “It’s been 74 days. We have not forgotten you.”

Ruby said since his son went missing, he has gone to Congress and met with President Joe Biden, who he said gave his word he’s doing everything he can to bring the Americans held hostage by Hamas home. He was also among hostage family members chosen to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

During the interview, he held up an hourglass. Ruby said he carries it with him around Washington to represent the urgency needed to set all the hostages free. 

Scripps News

“The U.N. resolution cannot be so one-sided,” said Ruby, speaking about the U.N. Security Council’s efforts. “Why is that resolution not including the immediate release of all the hostages?” 

But Ruby is not losing hope. 

“Christmas is happening next week, now is the time of miracles,” he said. “Pray that we can be whole again as a family.”

Hamas leader visits Cairo, a sign talks on another Israel truce loom
Palestinians inspect a house after it was hit by an Israeli bombardment

Hamas leader visits Cairo, a sign talks on another Israel truce loom

Hamas and Israel have recently relaunched indirect talks, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, aimed at instituting another cease-fire.