update deskIsrael at War

50 Batman creators call for release of Bibas family

Ariel Bibas, 4, loved the caped crusader and liked to dress up as him.

Yarden Bibas, 34, Shiri Bibas, 32, and their children, then-9-month-old Kfir and 4-year-old Ariel, were abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7. Photo: Courtesy.
Yarden Bibas, 34, Shiri Bibas, 32, and their children, then-9-month-old Kfir and 4-year-old Ariel, were abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7. Photo: Courtesy.

Some 50 animators and producers responsible for the character of Batman in various productions over the years signed a petition this week calling on Qatar and Egypt, two mediators in hostage talks between Israel and Hamas, to push for the release of the Bibas family.

The Bibas family has been held in the Gaza Strip for 193 days. The father, Yarden, 34, his wife Shiri, 32, and their two children, Kfir, who spent his first birthday in captivity, and Ariel, 4, were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, the day of the invasion.

Ariel loved the Batman character and liked to dress up as him. Photos of Ariel in a Batman costume and his entire family wearing Batman T-shirts during Purim 2023 were widely seen.

“As members of the community of Batman writers, artists and editors, we are contacting you concerning the young Batman fan who was taken hostage by terrorists and has been held in Gaza since last October 7,” the petition reads.

“Moved by the many anecdotes of Ariel’s affection for the iconic character who has become a symbol of hope and justice for so many, we implore your governments to exercise all possible leverage on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to immediately release the Bibas family, and all the Israeli hostages, from captivity,” it says.

The petition was organized by Rafael Medoff, historian and director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington. It was addressed to the ambassadors to the U.S. of Egypt and Qatar.

“Every hostage is equally important, but naturally Batman writers and artists feel a special connection to this young Bat-fan and his family,” said Medoff in a statement.

“These comics creators have spent decades developing a hero who fights for the innocent and stands as a beacon of hope for his community, and we’re trying to channel that spirit through this effort.

“The moral obligation to speak out against injustice never changes, whether during the Holocaust or in our own time,” Medoff added.

Hamas announced in November 2023 that the Bibas children and their mother were killed in an Israeli airstrike. However, the terrorist group’s claim has not been confirmed.

In February, the Israel Defense Forces revealed videos of Shiri, Ariel and Kfir taken in Khan Yunis, just after they were kidnapped.

“Seeing this young mother clutching her babies surrounded by a group of armed terrorists is horrifying. But it is also a call to action: That we must bring the hostages home,” said IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

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