Israeli race car driver finishes 3rd in international race, wears Hamas hostage photos on his helmet

The helmet said ‘BRING THEM HOME NOW!!!’ and ‘Am Israel Chai,’ which means ‘long live Israel.’
by Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Israeli race car driver Ariel Elkin recently won his first Formula 4 race of the season and used his helmet in the competition to honor the hostages still held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 terrorists attacks that took place in southern Israel.

Elkin, 16, competed in the USF Juniors Formula 4 international race that took place on Sunday morning at the NOLA Motorsports Park near downtown New Orleans, Louisiana. His helmet in the race was covered with photos of the hostages and on the top of the helmet he wrote in black marker “BRING THEM HOME NOW!!!” and in Hebrew the phrase “Am Israel Chai,” which means “long live Israel.”

When Elkin got to the podium to accept his trophy for finishing in third place, the commentator asked him to put down his helmet and instead hold his trophy. The race car driver refused and explained that he wanted to pay tribute to the hostages that remain in Gaza. Instead of lifting his trophy over his head to take a photo with the other winners, he lifted his helmet to draw awareness to the hostages.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked Elkin for his kind gesture in a post on the country’s official Twitter account and following his win, Elkin called for the immediate return of the hostages, which include one of his friends. He also thanked his supporters and the Israel Defense Forces for “keeping my family safe.”

“I am calling for bringing all of the hostages back home now and I am waiting to be back in Israel with my friend who is already half a year in Gaza,” he said. “I am waiting for her to come back home with all of the hostages.”

A total of 129 hostages abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7 remain in Gaza and the IDF has confirmed the deaths of 34 of those hostages. As part of a new ceasefire deal being discussed, Israel has demanded the release of 40 hostages — including all women as well as sick and elderly men, in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners that would be released from Israeli prisons. However, Israeli officials and sources familiar with the negotiations revealed that Hamas told mediators it does not have 40 living Israeli hostages who meet Israel’s conditions.