Mother of Hamas hostage makes TIME’s 100 list
Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of the American-Israeli hostage Hersh Golderg, in Geneva, Switzerland, calling for release of the hostages, as the United Nations celebrates the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. (Photo: Nathan Chicheportiche/Permanent Mission of Israel in Geneva)

‘I pray this platform will help compel the world not to forsake these remaining 133 souls,’ said Rachel Goldberg-Polin, the mother of captive Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23.

By Amelie Botbol
April 18, 2024

(JNS) — Time magazine on Wednesday featured Rachel Goldberg-Polin, the mother of 23-year-old Hamas captive Hersh Goldberg-Polin, in its 2024 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Goldberg-Polin appeared in the “Leaders” section of the list, which also includes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Andrii Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

“I want to thank Time for my inclusion on the TIME100 and for recognizing the significance and gravity of the hostage crisis and the need for the world to advocate on their behalf, until each one is returned home,” said Goldberg-Polin. 

On Oct. 7, Goldberg was having a cup of tea in Jerusalem when sirens blared warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. She quickly woke up her daughters and rushed to the bomb shelter inside her apartment.

“Two messages popped up; both were from Hersh. The first one said, ‘I love you’ and the second, ‘I’m sorry.’ I knew right away that something horrible had happened,” she told JNS in December. 

Hersh Goldberg-Polin had spent the night of Oct. 6 out with his best friend, Aner Shapira. Both had attended the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, where Hamas murdered, raped and burned alive 364 people and kidnapped 40 others. 

Hersh, Shapira and a few others tried to escape by car, but then realized that terrorists were setting up roadblocks and shooting at approaching vehicles.

They instead ran to a nearby public bomb shelter. Soon, the terrorists converged on the tiny space, throwing in grenades one at a time.

Shapira managed to throw seven of the grenades back before one detonated, killing him and many of the over two dozen others packed into the tiny room. The terrorists threw two more grenades in for good measure. 

Hersh’s left arm was blown off at the elbow. He was later featured in a video being marched out of the shelter into a Hamas car, which headed back to Gaza. 

Rachel Goldberg-Polin has since become one of the most emblematic figures in the fight to bring the hostages home. She was invited to speak at U.N. headquarters in New York and Geneva, and met with world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, Pope Francis in Rome and U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk.

“I pray this platform will help compel the world not to forsake these remaining 133 souls, who hail from 25 countries, 5 religions and range in age from 15 months to 86 years old, and who have now been held captive in Gaza for 194 days,” said Goldberg. 

“We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of these human beings, along with the suffering of all innocents in Gaza,” she added.

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