Show the world my son’s blown-off hand, says Hamas hostage’s mother

Ms Goldberg-Polin and her husband John have turned campaigning for the release of their only son into a full-time job.

When she arrived for her interview with The Telegraph, Ms Goldberg-Polin, a petite woman with a neat bun of silver hair, wore a plain white T-shirt with the number 207 written in strips of duct tape.

She and her husband began wearing numbers to mark how many days Hersh had been in captivity after growing tired of journalists constantly asking how long it had been since their son was taken.

“You know how in America when you go to conferences they put stickers on you with your name on? This is my name. My name today is 207,” she said, adding that the stickers also serve as an uncomfortable reminder of the plight of the hostages – something the Goldberg-Polins fear is becoming less acute to many Israelis as the war drags on.

“I think it makes people uncomfortable, which people should be because we failed them: Every day is another day of failure,” she said.

With Israeli leaders talking up the potential for a breakthrough in the hostage negotiations, Ms Goldberg-Polin said she had lived through many such moments in the last seven months of war, moments which seemed pivotal but turned out to be merely posturing.

“There’s a lot of posturing and game playing and theatre – and we’re just extras in the movie we did not sign up for,” she said.

On Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, vowed to press on with the planned invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza, a move that many say could dampen prospects for a hostage deal and endanger the hostages themselves who are likely to be kept in underground tunnels in southern Gaza.

Hersh’s parents feared the worst when Hamas released a preview screenshot of the video with Hersh an hour before it was released. Other videos released by the group showed hostages dead, supposedly killed by Israeli airstrikes.

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