Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, at least 17 Bedouins living in Israel have been killed, reports the New York Times. And he calls representatives of these nomadic tribes “hidden victims” of this war. Because – as one of the volunteers quoted by the daily claims – the hardships of life and death of Bedouins “are unfortunately not noticed.” He adds that Hamas “does not distinguish between Jewish blood and Arab blood.”
On October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, over 1,400 of its citizens were killed. After this “murderous rampage,” as the New York Times calls it, the world’s attention focused on Jewish communities near the Gaza Strip, where many of the victims lived. However, as the New York daily notes, atrocities were also committed against one of the “more hidden minorities in Israel”, the Bedouins, nomadic tribes of Arab countries, but also North Africa and the Middle East.
The New York Times writes that at least 17 Bedouins have been killed in Hamas attacks since October 7. Most of them came from villages in the Negev Desert and near the city of Rahat in southern Israel, which is the main center of Bedouins living in this country.
The victims included 26-year-old Abd Alrahman Aatef Ziadna. On October 7, they were near Zikkim Beach near the Gaza Strip, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Ziadna was murdered in his tent, and four members of his Bedouin family are missing.
The next victim was an Arab paramedic from northern Israel who came to work at music and dance festival during which 260 people died.
“Rockets and bullets do not discriminate”
Dr. Yasmeen Abu Fraiha, who grew up in the Bedouin city of Tel Sheva, tells the NYT that she rushed to a hospital in the nearby city of Beersheva on Oct. 7 as staff scrambled to treat hundreds of patients that day.
She said Hamas’ attacks were not aimed directly at Bedouins, but, as she put it, “rockets and bullets do not discriminate.”
Following the attacks, many Bedouins, most often living in impoverished Israeli households, lost their livelihoods and had their homes looted, causing enormous hardship for an already struggling community, the New York Times continues. “Many people are unemployed. People are afraid,” admits Dr. Fraiha.
Destroyed roofs turn into deadly debris
The New York daily points out that even before the October 7 attacks, the Bedouins had “long suffered” from the activities of Hamas. Because many often live in isolated villages. They lack the shelters and health care facilities that the government has expanded in other parts of southern Israel. Even in Rahat, with a population of about 80,000, there were only about 10 shelters, the city’s mayor, Ata Abu Mediam, told Israeli media.
“When Hamas fires rockets, people have nowhere to run,” says Ayesha Ziadna, a relative of one of the Bedouin victims of the attack. He adds that when shelling occurs, most of the aluminum roofs of Bedouin houses turn into deadly shrapnel.
Ayesha Ziadna got involved in the campaign to collect basic necessities such as sugar, flour and diapers, which will be distributed to families struggling with difficulties – both Jews and Arabs,
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“We live here together and we have to walk hand in hand.”
Another volunteer, Shir Nosatzki, who works for a group promoting friendly Jewish-Arab relations, said Hamas “does not distinguish between Jewish blood and Arab blood,” and neither do its rockets. “We share tragedies and the healing process,” Nosatzki said, adding that the hardships of life and death of Bedouins “unfortunately go unnoticed.”
In a large gymnasium in Rahat, where shop signs are written in both Arabic and Hebrew, volunteers sorted the donations and packed them into cardboard boxes. The boxes were then distributed in Bedouin villages and Jewish towns, such as Ofakim, where Hamas fighters killed about 50 people.
The New York Times also quotes a Bedouin bus driver from Rahat who saved over twenty people from a massacre at a music festival.
The man said the government must also take care of the Bedouins “because they are also part of this nation.” “We are one nation – we are Israelis. We live here together and we must walk hand in hand,” he is quoted by the NYT.
Main photo source: YURI CORTEZ/AFP/East News