LONDON — It has develop into a every day ritual.
Each morning, earlier than she’s even out of her pajamas, Rachel Goldberg-Polin tears a bit of masking tape off the roll, grabs a marking pen and in thick black strokes writes down the variety of days her son, Hersh, has been held hostage by Hamas militants. Then she sticks the tape to her chest.
“I discover it so exceptional how nauseating it’s each single time,’’ she mentioned. “And it’s good. I don’t need to get used to it. I don’t need anyone to get used to the truth that these persons are lacking.’’
Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, was final seen Oct. 7, when militants loaded him into the again of a pickup truck with different individuals who have been kidnapped from a southern Israel music pageant the place over 300 attendees have been killed. The native of Berkeley, California, misplaced a part of an arm when the attackers tossed grenades into the shelter the place a gaggle of younger individuals had taken refuge.
Sunday will mark 100 days since he and about 250 others have been taken hostage by the militants who stormed throughout the border from Gaza, triggering the most recent struggle between Israel and Hamas. Whereas dozens of ladies, kids and foreigners have been launched throughout a weeklong November cease-fire, and a lot of hostages have been confirmed useless, 132 others stay in captivity. The Crimson Cross hasn’t been permitted to see them, and nearly nothing is thought about their situations.
Rachel Goldberg-Polin, 54, now spends her days attempting to convey Hersh and the opposite hostages residence.
The mom of three has spent the previous three months in relentless movement, crisscrossing the globe, reminding anybody who will pay attention that her baby is extra than simply an inconvenient statistic: He’s her solely son, a music lover, a younger man who deserves the possibility to satisfy his dream of touring the world.
Goldberg-Polin and her household, who moved to Israel from the US when Hersh was 7, have met with U.S. President Joe Biden, Pope Francis, Elon Musk and dozens of journalists. She’s spoken on the United Nations, gone to protests and carried placards.
The plight of the hostages has gripped Israel’s consideration, and the tireless marketing campaign by households has gained widespread assist and sympathy, ratcheting up stress on the Israeli authorities to make concessions to win their launch.
The Goldberg-Polin household plans to attend the beginning of a 24-hour rally for the hostages in Tel Aviv on Saturday and one other Sunday on the Jerusalem Promenade, a set of parks and walkways overlooking town. Comparable occasions are scheduled in cities exterior Israel, together with London, New York and Paris.
However to this point, nothing has stopped the quantity on the masking tape from going up.
The ritual started on Day 26, when Goldberg-Polin caught the makeshift badge to her chest to point out everybody that the excruciating, ever-increasing tally was the main target of her life, not only a factoid for information tales.
“It defines me anyway,’’ she instructed The Related Press on Wednesday, when her badge learn 96. She likened it to a reputation tag, within the style of “Hiya my identify is.”
“That is who I’m,” she mentioned. “My identification is the variety of days he’s been stolen.″
Forward of the 100-day milestone, Goldberg-Polin requested individuals around the globe to undertake her routine on Sunday, hoping the present of solidarity would assist her and the opposite households bear the ache and anguish of ready one more day for his or her family members to return.
Goldberg-Polin’s masking tape badge was impressed by childhood recollections from 1979, when America was transfixed by the destiny of 52 individuals held hostage on the U.S. Embassy in Iran. ABC Information opened its protection each evening with a operating depend of what number of days the disaster had lasted. The hostages have been lastly launched after 444 days.
“This makes individuals very uncomfortable as a result of you understand what? Human beings like a countdown,” Goldberg-Polin mentioned. “We prefer to countdown to trip. We prefer to depend down in Occasions Sq. on New Yr’s Eve.
“We don’t like a count-up. A count-up of humanity’s failure of getting these human beings out of captivity is one thing that makes individuals very uncomfortable. And you understand what? Be a part of the membership. I’ve been uncomfortable for 96 days.”
Even so, the 100-day mark has supplied a second to direct the world’s consideration again on the hostages. Goldberg-Polin hopes that somebody, someplace is caring for her injured son.
She has a message for Hersh, simply in case it would attain him.
“I’d say: There has not been one second because you have been taken that we’re not working, turning over each single stone on the planet Earth and operating to the ends of the Earth to get you again,” she mentioned. “So we’d like you to remain sturdy. And survive and keep alive. And we’re coming.”