Those We Have Lost

Mai Zuhair, 13 & Faizah Abu Sabeeh, 57: Bedouin matriarch, grandchild

Killed by a rocket impact in Kukhleh, where there are no bomb shelters or reinforced rooms, on October 7

Mai Zuhair Abu Sabeeh (left) and Faizah Abu Sabeeh (Courtesy)
Mai Zuhair Abu Sabeeh (left) and Faizah Abu Sabeeh (Courtesy)

Mai Zuhair Abu Sabeeh, 13, and her grandmother, Faizah Abu Sabeeh, 57, were killed on October 7 when a rocket fired from Gaza crashed into their home in the southern Israel Bedouin village of Kukhleh.

Mai’s aunt, Adel, told the La’Isha magazine that her niece dreamed of becoming an English teacher. “She was a serious girl, did well in school. She wanted to be an English teacher — she taught her brothers and her nephews English, and I would also speak to her in English,” she said.

Adel said that Mai was a “dominant child” who had already set her sights on a career and would get a kick out of correcting others when they spoke in English. She “loved life and loved her family,” including her older brother and six younger siblings, said her aunt.

Faizah, Adel’s mother, “was the focus of the home, the center of our lives,” noting that Faizah had 10 children and at least 50 grandchildren. “Every Saturday morning we would come to her for breakfast in her big living room, and to get her blessings and prayers.”

On that fateful Saturday, Adel said, many of the family had started arriving when “suddenly there was a huge boom, a rocket directly hit the house.” She said there are no bomb shelters or reinforced rooms in the village, and they did not hear any sirens before the rocket hit.

Faizah and Mai had a very close connection, said Adel. “Even though we all live next to each other, she would go and sleep at her grandmother’s. She was responsible, made sure to give her grandmother her medicines and make sure she would take them on time. It’s no surprise that they left us together.”

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