This sounds like a starter motor solenoid issue.
Either it has dirty contacts or is jamming, preventing the contacts closing.
The repeated attempts indicate that sometimes it is not jamming, or sometimes it makes good contact.
Some people recommend using a hammer to tap the solenoid to free a jamming solenoid armature.
Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy.
'83 W123 300D 325000km (Josephine) - sold.
'84 W123 300D replaced good OM617 912 with OM617 952 and enjoyed having good acceleration for the first time since first driving a 300D in 2002 - became engine and trans donor for 300CD Turbodiesel conversion. Now parted out.
'86 W124 300D sold (Wife's old car - sold )
'85 W123 300CD, 275 000km (Fatmobile) rebuilt turbodiesel from previous Fatmobile transplanted into 280CE
'99 W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my darling Wife's car - Sold)
'98 W202 C250 Turbodiesel (my car)