Hamid Abu Arar (right) with Interior Minister Moshe Arbel. (Twitter Screenshot) (Twitter Screenshot)
Hamid abu arar

His pregnant wife was killed in the attack, with his 7-month-old baby suffering wounds to his shoulder from flying shrapnel.

By Batya Jerenberg

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel granted an Arab hero of October 7 the reward of a permanent residency card Wednesday after hearing how he had risked his life to warn IDF soldiers of an imminent threat to their lives by Hamas ambushers.

“This is an important day in which we show the world that we are in the fight against evil and darkness, and our partnership [of the] Children of Abraham is strong and brave,” Arbel said in the small ceremony for Hamid Abu Arar.

Abu Arar’s pregnant wife, Fatima, had been driving him and a co-worker from their homes in the Negev to their agricultural job near Gaza on what Israelis now call “the Black Sabbath.” Some 3,000 Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel that morning suddenly appeared on motorcycles at the junction they were in and shot at them. Fatima and the co-worker died instantly, while her husband was hit in his leg and their seven-month-old son, who was also in the car with them, was hurt in his shoulder by shrapnel.

Abu Arar took the baby and hid with him in an electrical closet of sorts after the police he’d called told him that they couldn’t reach him. They stayed there for five and a half hours, he said, with the infant crying constantly from hunger and exhaustion.

That’s when a group of Hamas terrorists arrived.

“They stood close to us,” he said in an interview with the Hebrew media. “I heard them planning how to hurt soldiers. Seven minutes later I heard people speaking in Hebrew coming closer. I peeked out and saw IDF soldiers. I was scared of dying from a shootout between them, but understood that I had nothing to lose.”

When the terrorists began shooting and he saw that the soldiers didn’t know where the fire was coming from, he said, “I took off all my clothes and went out to them naked, with the baby in my arms, and warned them. I told them there were four terrorists and explained where they were.”

The IDF force took care of the terrorists, but Abu Arar had to wait an additional hour and a half before he and his son could be safely evacuated and treated.

Abu Arar, who previously lived in the Gaza Strip, had been allowed to dwell in Israel proper because his wife had been an Israeli citizen. While mourning her death, he had to also contend with the fear that he would now be thrown out of the country, even though his nine children could stay, as they had Israeli citizenship.

The advisory committee of the Interior Ministry recommended granting him permanent residency since he was now the “only backbone” for his nine orphans after he had experienced “one of the worst terrorist incidents the State of Israel has ever known” and saw his “pregnant wife … murdered in cold blood by despicable terrorists in front of his eyes.”

Arbel, meanwhile, focused on the need to show appreciation for Abu Arar’s courage.

“Your actions and your words touched the hearts of all of us,” he said. “The citizens of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF are all grateful to you. The Ministry of the Interior thanks you and declares that you are an inseparable part of the State of Israel. I consider it a privilege to be the one who gives you your identity card. The news that you and your children are an inseparable part of the Israeli identity is good news for the country and all its citizens.”