Former Gazan receives permanent residency in Israel

When he heard IDF soldiers, he went towards them and warned them about the terrorists.

By Michael Selutin | | Topics: Gaza
A happy hero in Israel. Photo: Courtesy.

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel on Wednesday named Hamid Abu Arar, a father of nine from Aruar in the Negev and a former Gaza resident who lost his wife and risked his life to save dozens of IDF soldiers on October 7, as the newest permanent resident of the State of Israel.

“I work in agriculture, and that Saturday my wife drove me to work,” recalls Hamid. “We reached the intersection and stopped to give way. The terrorists came on motorcycles and started shooting at us. My wife Fatma, who was pregnant, was killed on the spot and I was injured in the leg. My seven-month-old baby, who was in the car with us, was also wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel, and another person who was working with me was killed.”

Hamid had to hide with his little son for many hours: “We called an ambulance and the police but we couldn’t reach anyone. We were told to hide. There was an electrical service box nearby. I took my baby and we hid in there for five-and-a-half hours. He cried the entire time because he was hungry and tired.”

“After all those hours, Hamas terrorists came and stood next to the box,” he says. “I heard how they were planning to attack the soldiers. Seven minutes later, I heard people talking in Hebrew and coming toward us. I looked over and saw the IDF soldiers. I was afraid of dying in a shootout between them, but I realized I had nothing to lose – so I decided to do something to save the lives of the soldiers and me and my son.”

“The terrorists started firing at the army and the soldiers did not know where the shots were coming from,” he continues. “I took off my clothes and walked up to the soldiers naked with my baby in my hands and warned them. I told them there were four terrorists there and explained where they were. We waited another hour-and-a-half until they took us away from there.”

After the traumatic event and while grieving for his wife, Hamid, who did not have official status in the country, had to deal with another fear – that he would have to be deported from Israel and leave his children behind. “I was constantly fearful of being separated from my children,” he describes. “Their mother is dead, would I have to leave them, too?”

Out of deep appreciation and after receiving the recommendations of the advisory committee, Interior Minister Arbel this week granted Hamid permanent resident status. The statement submitted by the committee to the minister read: “This is the applicant who experienced one of the worst terrorist incidents known to the State of Israel and whose pregnant wife was murdered in cold blood in front of him by despicable murderers. In such a case, the State of Israel cannot remain indifferent and not concern itself with the fact that this is a family unit that includes nine minor children, citizens of Israel who have lost their mother, and that the applicant is the only support for his children.”

Arbel himself said that “this day is an important day when we show the world that we stand in the fight against evil and darkness and that our partnership – the sons of Abraham – is strong and courageous.”

Arbel turned to Hamid and remarked: “You acted courageously and risked your life just moments after your wife was murdered in cold blood before your eyes. In doing so, you saved the lives of dozens of soldiers.”

Arbel added: “Your actions and your words have touched us all deeply. The citizens of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF owe you a debt of gratitude. The Ministry of the Interior thanks you and declares that you are an inseparable part of the State of Israel. I consider it a privilege to be the one who gives you your ID card. The news that you and your children are an inseparable part of Israel’s identity is good news for the country and all its citizens.”

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