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Central Park Rally Draws Hundreds for American Hostage's Release

Solidarity in Central Park: Rallying for Omer Neutra’s Freedom

On Sunday, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Central Park to rally for the release of Omer Neutra, an American-Israeli hostage who has been held by Hamas for nine months. Neutra, 22, originally from Plainview, New York, was serving in the Israeli army when he was captured.

Social media footage from the attack shows Neutra being taken from a tank near the Nahal Oz military base on the Gaza border. Since his capture, Neutra's family has received no signs of life or information about his condition.

At the rally, Neutra’s parents, Orna and Ronen, shared their anguish. "It has been nine months since the last phone call with Omer from his post," Orna said. "I can still hear his voice. I can’t imagine what he is going through."

Ronen expressed the heartache of celebrating Independence Day without his son. "Omer, you’ve been a proud dual citizen of both Israel and the United States. Yet, you’re anything but independent at this moment, held in the most horrific conditions in Gaza," he lamented.

He urged Israel to secure a ceasefire that would free the captives. "The war needs to end and bring the hostages home," Ronen said. "The elimination of Hamas is important but will take time and patience. No one can be left behind. The time is now, bring them home now."

Neutra is one of eight American hostages still held by Hamas. Dana Cwaigrach, leader of the NY Hostage and Missing Family Forum, highlighted the community’s unwavering support. "Despite the 4th of July holiday weekend, the turnout shows the level of support for the hostages' families," she told The Jerusalem Post. "We’re very hopeful a deal will actually take place, and we will continue to stand up here until the very last one of them is home."

This rally in Central Park underscores the relentless hope and solidarity of the New York community in their quest to see Omer Neutra and other hostages freed.

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