Mom of Gaza hostage: Red Cross acting as ‘Uber service’ for the released, not visiting those held

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

A picture of Hersh Goldberg-Polin at a memorial for those killed and kidnapped from the Nova festival, November 28, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
A picture of Hersh Goldberg-Polin at a memorial for those killed and kidnapped from the Nova festival, November 28, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Rachel Goldberg, whose son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova desert rave on October 7, shares several new details at a press conference about her son’s abduction.

Her husband, Jon Polin, went to the field shelter for the first time this week, to see where Hersh and his friend, Aner Shapira, attempted to hide along with 27 others.

“Twenty-nine young people were smashed into this space,” says Goldberg, describing the “tiny concrete room.”

The Hamas terrorists first threw hand grenades, then an RPG and then used machine gun fire to kill as many people as possible in the shelter, says Goldberg. Shapira was killed by one of the grenades, after tossing back some seven of them.

Several people survived hiding under corpses and they saw that Hersh Goldberg-Polin’s arm was blown off from the elbow down, says Goldberg. This was confirmed in a video sent to Hersh’s parents by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Goldberg adds that she and her husband have been told that hostages are more valuable if they’re alive, and the sense is that injured hostages were taken to hospitals.

“We know there are very capable physicians and surgeons in Gaza,” says Goldberg. “What has been explained to us is that although the injury looks horrible, it’s not a complicated surgery,” and would only involve the surgeon amputating above the jagged part of the limb.

“And then he would need antibiotics, which of course begs the question if that happened or is still happening,” says Goldberg.

Goldberg also speaks about the Red Cross, “doing a wonderful job being an Uber service” for the released hostages, but the hope had been that the international medical organization would see the hostages in captivity.

Goldberg says that seeing the first groups of hostages being released is “the first moment of respite and a sliver of light, a tiny, hopeful moment when we see these people being returned to their loved ones.”

She notes that they now know many of the families of the hostages.

“I know these mothers,” she says. “Obviously, I would love to see Hersh be one of those released. But he’s not a woman and he’s not a child.

“He’s my child, of course.”

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