Immediately after learning about Hamas’s terror attack on October 7th, Shir Nosatzki, co-founder and director of Have You Seen The Horizon Lately and Hanan Alsana, a lawyer with Itach-Maaki, knew they would have to act. They understood quickly that there would be those who would try to use Hamas’ attack to spark tensions between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
Shir and Hanan, with help from an emergency grant from NIF, developed a joint Jewish-Arab relief center in Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in the Negev. The relief center, staffed by both Jewish and Arab Israelis, has delivered boxes of much-needed food, toiletries, and medical supplies to more than 500 families–both Jewish and Bedouin. It is the only joint Jewish-Arab relief center in all of Israel.
While working at the center, Shir realized if she didn’t tell the stories of Bedouin and Arab Israeli survivors, no one else would. So members of Have You Seen The Horizon Lately started recording the stories of Bedouin and Arab Israelis who saved the lives of Jewish Israelis during the attack. Videos of these stories have gone viral, garnering millions of views.
One of those videos tells the story of Hamid Abu Ar’ar, a Bedouin father who was driving with his wife and infant son when Hamas launched their brutal attack, and as they drove by, Hamas militants shot and killed his wife. Terrified, he grabbed his son and hid in a roadside electrical shed, praying he wouldn’t be found. After a few hours, he heard more Hamas militants speaking in Arabic behind the shed he was hiding in. Then he heard Hebrew from across the road—and realized a group of IDF soldiers were walking into a trap. With his baby clasped to his chest, Hamid ran out of the shed, shouting at the soldiers to get back, saving their lives. Since the video of his story went viral, Shir said that Have You Seen The Horizon Lately has been able to raise money to help Hamid support that baby, and his eight other children, who are now motherless.
“For many years, there was a fear among Jews in this country that if the Arab armies ever decided to attack us all at once, the Arab citizens of Israel would serve as a fifth column,” Shir told Haaretz last week. “These stories prove just the opposite: that Arab citizens were there for Jews when the state and the army were not.”