WASHINGTON, D.C. - It’s been a little more than six months since Hamas invaded Israel. The October 7th attack killed more than a thousand people. Hamas took hundreds hostage. Omer Neutra, a 22 year-old from New York is one of the hostages. His parents visited Capitol Hill advocating for their son’s release.  

“He’s an all American kid,” said Ronen Neutra, Omer’s dad. “Loves the NBA, NFL, participates in fantasy football.” 

Orna and Ronen Neutra are Omer Neutra's parents. They describe their 22-year-old son as someone people gravitated towards.  

“Omer is a very social person,” said Orna Neutra. “He always sees the good in people.” 

The Neutras said he was enrolled in Binghamton University but decided to do a gap year in Israel to join the Israeli military. on October 7th, Omer's parents said he was on patrol near the southern Israel border when Hamas attacked. Omer was captured and taken into Gaza.  

“Everyday we wake up and we count the days,” said Orna. “We wear them on us because for us its been one long day since the last time we spoke with our son which was October 6th.”  

“When parents don’t hear from their kids in two hours not responding to a text message you’re completely frightened,” said Ronen. “We haven’t heard from our son in 187 days. We’re constantly between hope and despair. We try to stay hopeful. We have to stay hopeful. That's the only way we need to operate but people are dying there and every week somebody gets the bad news.” 

It’s their seventh time in Washington advocating on Omer's behalf. Hoping our lawmakers and the White House prioritize the hostages.  

“There cannot be a ceasefire without a release of hostages,” said Ronen. “That will be a death penalty for the people staying there. Every week we hear about another hostage that dies. Its urgent.” 

The family said a deal to release the hostages is on the table but it’s up to Hamas to follow through with it. For now all they can do is wait for any news about their son.  

“We can’t wait to bring him home and continue his life and contributing to society,” said Ronen. “He has so much to offer.”