“Hope is Mandatory,” Israeli hostage families cling to hope for end to suffering for Israel and Gaza

Every day on a road near Tel-Aviv, the number of days since October 7 are called out in Hebrew: Echad, or one, shtaim or two, shalosh or three. . . . .and on, today, March 17, the number is 163 days without the return of the hostages or a ceasefire. When the counting comes to an end, protesters clear the road, and the traffic moves on – something the families of the hostages cannot do. “For us, it’s still 7 October,” says a family member of a hostage.

Rachel Polin-Goldberg, mother of Hersh who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7; Rachel. works daily to promote not only the return of hostages, but also to end the suffering for Gazans as well.

From the BBC, Rachel Polin Greenberg recounts the message she received from her son Hersh who was attending the Supernova Music Festival. The message said “I love you,” followed by “I’m sorry,” and her attempts to call him back went unanswered. The last video footage of Hersh showed him being rounded up by Hamas militants with guns and loaded onto a truck. His left arm had been blown off. Hersh is 23.

Says Polin-Goldberg, “Hope is mandatory. . . .”I believe it and I have to believe it, that he will come back to us.”

In the midst of her torment, she is quick to acknowledge the pain of families in Gaza. She says the agony must end, and not only for Israelis.

“There are thousands and thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza who are suffering,” she says. “There is so much suffering to go around. And I would love for our leaders, all of them, to say, ‘we’re going to do what we have to do so that just the normal people can stop suffering’.”

The BBC adds in its reporting: “The Hamas attacks killed around 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians. Since then, Israel has bombed Gaza relentlessly, killing more than 31,000 people according to officials in the Hamas-run territory. 70% of the dead there are women and children”.

A senior Hamas official told CNN that he cannot provide any assurances about the wellbeing of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, but rejected a United Nations special representative’s finding that there is “clear and convincing information” that some of them have been sexually abused.

Meanwhile, during the same meeting March 15, per CNN “Israel has denied targeting civilians and accuses Hamas of hiding behind civilian infrastructure.”

Sources linked in article BBC and CNN