newsIsrael at War

The youngest hostage

At 9 months, Kfir is the youngest of the roughly 240 hostages, including 32 children, held by Hamas.

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip kidnap the Bibas family at Kibbutz Nir Oz, Oct. 7, 2023. Source: Screenshot.
Terrorists from the Gaza Strip kidnap the Bibas family at Kibbutz Nir Oz, Oct. 7, 2023. Source: Screenshot.

Nine months old.

The smiling red-haired baby had recently started to crawl after rocking on all fours.

Kfir Bibas lived with his parents and 4-year-old brother in a kibbutz in southern Israel.

On Oct. 7, their lives were changed forever as the family—mom Shiri, dad Yarden and the two kids—was abducted by Hamas to Gaza when the Islamist terrorists overran the area and went on a murderous rampage. 

At 9 months, Kfir is the youngest of the roughly 240 hostages, including 32 children, held by Hamas.

After a month with no news on the family’s whereabouts or condition, Kfir is now 10 months old.

His grandfather clings to the hope that the family will be released soon amid reports of a possible hostage release this week.

“This is my whole life now,” Eli Bibas, 66, said Sunday in an interview with JNS about his son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons being held by Hamas. “We have got to get them home.”

Kfir Bibas. Credit: Courtesy of the family.

The Saturday of horror

That fateful Saturday, Eli was supposed to visit the family at 10 a.m., at their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, but the air raid sirens went off at 6:30, warning of incoming rockets from Gaza, sending everybody to their protected rooms.

Eli, who lives about 20 minutes away, texted Yarden, 34, to be sure the family was OK.

“Like the rest of the Gaza border communities, he was in the sealed room,” Eli said.

That morning, Yarden kept texting his sister Ofri, letting her know what was happening in Nir Oz, where he lived with Shiri, 32, Ariel and Kfir.

But by 9 a.m., the air-raid warnings kept coming and coming, and Eli knew something was astray. At 9:20, his son texted him “I love you,” the same message he sent his mom and sister.

Just two months earlier, Yarden’s sister had moved from a nearby Gaza border community to the Golan Heights to get away from the rocket attacks. Her brother had been thinking about making a similar move, his father recounted, and had also bought a handgun.

“Imagine what it would have been like for me now if my daughter had not moved,” he said in the interview.

Yarden told his sister that there was noise outside and that they were having difficulty keeping the kids quiet but he was afraid to use the gun since the terrorists had automatic weapons.

At 9:45 a.m., he texted: “They’re inside.”

A crib representing the youngest hostage held in Gaza is among more than 200 empty beds on display in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Square, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo by Rina Castelnuovo.

Family abducted

A video would soon come out of the Hamas terrorists drilling open the front door.

Hours later, a video circulated of Shiri holding both boys in her arms, a look of terror on her face as she was surrounded by terrorists, her boys facing her chest, a blanket covering them.

Three days later, another picture would emerge, of a bloodied Yarden Bibas, a terrorist holding his throat with one hand and a hammer in the other.

Shiri’s parents were burned alive in their homes in the kibbutz; their daughter, held captive in Gaza, remains unaware of their fate.

One in four members of their kibbutz was kidnapped or killed.

Ofri, who has been to London and Cyprus to speak out for her brother’s family and the other hostages after a fruitless meeting with the International Red Cross in Tel Aviv, will travel to Geneva on Monday to speak at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Eli said.

“No one could have imagined such a nightmare,” he said.

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