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Taken captive: Youssef Hamis Ziyadne from Rahat

Taken from Kibbutz Holit, Bedouin father still in Gaza after two of his three hostage children released November 30

Youssef Ziyadne was taken hostage on October 7, 2023 by Hamas terrorists to Gaza (Courtesy)
Youssef Ziyadne was taken hostage on October 7, 2023 by Hamas terrorists to Gaza (Courtesy)

Youssef Hamis Ziyadne, 53, was taken captive to Gaza, along with three other children, Hamza Ziyadne, 22, Bilal Ziyadne, 18, and Aisha Ziyadne, 17, while working in Kibbutz Holit.

Bilal and Aisha were released on November 30 after more than 50 days in Hamas captivity; Youssef and Hamza remain hostages in Gaza.

Youssef, 53, married with two wives and 19 children, was working in the kibbutz cow shed. Hamza, 22, married and father of two, and Bilal, 18, and single, were working with their father, while their sister had joined them for the morning.

The family lives in Rahat, in the Ziyadne neighborhood, named for their extensive family clan.

Following their release, Bilal said the terrorists kidnapped him and his family members even though they knew they were Arabs, as he struggled to describe his experiences in a recent interview.

Bilal said the four of them were kept together, and they were brought enough food to not be hungry, “normal food. Bread, beans, tomatoes, falafel, things like that.”

They did not know there were other hostages outside of the four members of their family and were unaware of the seriousness of the situation.

“We didn’t think the war would take that long. It felt like such a long time, we prayed to be freed,” said Bilal.

Bilal said that all four of them were provided with “a mattress, pillow, blanket,” unlike many of the other freed hostages who said they slept on the bare ground and were given barely enough food to survive.

The terrorists also gave them a Quran, he said.

The released teen said he felt afraid of the Israeli airstrikes he would hear, but not of Hamas: “I’m scared for those who are still there… I feel and I know what they’re going through.”

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