The family of Aisha al-Ziadne, 17, and her brother Bilal (18), residents of Rahat, rejoiced when they were released last night in the seventh group to be freed by Hamas, as part of the hostage release agreement.
The two siblings were abducted together with their father Yosef (49) and older brother Hamza (21) while working at Kibbutz Holit. The family of the hostages waited each day of the temporary ceasefire for their release during the last week because they understood that their loved ones met the criteria set out in the deal.
According to the terms of the truce between Israel and Hamas, children under the age of 19 who are not in the military, such as Aisha and Bilal, would be released during the temporary ceasefire.
Since the beginning of the pause in fighting, the IDF was in daily contact with the Ziadne family, updating them on the names of hostages set to be released. Finally, on Thursday night, two of the names appeared on the list.
Aisha was betrothed to marry another member of the Bedouin tribe, and only just started working with her father at Kibbutz Holit. Her father, Yosef, has been working at the kibbutz for 17 years. He has diabetes and her family is concerned that he is not getting his medication. Aisha’s older brother, Hamza, has been working with their father for five years at Kibbutz Holt.
The family expressed their mixed feelings at the release of Aisha and Bilal, while waiting for Yosef and Hamza to be released.
"We are happy that they were released," said relative Daham al-Ziadne of Aisha and Bilal, "but this joy will not be complete until everyone is released."
"We are still waiting to meet them, so we can be more at peace about them,” Daham said. “They need to be in a safe place, with their families, so that their peace can be restored.”
Their work shift ended at 7 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 7, just as the attacks began.
The Ziadne family wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, asking him to take action to free the siblings. They also mentioned the other Bedouins who were abducted on Oct. 7 during the Hamas invasion and massacre, including Samer Fouad al-Talalqah (22) from Hura, who worked in Nir Am, and Qaid Farhan al-Qadi (53), who lives near Rahat and worked as a guard at Kibbutz Magen.
About six Israeli Arab Bedouins were kidnapped and are still being held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while working in moshavim and kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, and another 17 were murdered during the attacks. Some were killed while helping other Israelis escape, such as Amer Abu Sabeila, a 25-year-old Israeli Muslim who was killed while trying to rescue several members of the Suissa family from Sderot. Sabeila was hailed a hero for sacrificing his life to save two young Israeli girls, aged 3 and 6, from murderous Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.
Knesset Member Walid Al-Huashla of Israel's Ra'am political party said: "In recent days, we insisted on not losing hope and worked with everyone we could – in Israel, Egypt and Qatar – so that Aisha and Bilal would be released. It is gratifying to see them coming home. But this joy is also accompanied by worry for their father Yusef, their brother Hamza, Samer Fouad Talalqah, Farhan al-Qadi and many others who remained in captivity. We will continue to act in every way to secure their release.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.