Organized by Israel-is, a global Israeli advocacy group, the delegation’s mission focused on the plight of those kidnapped in the conflict. Central to their efforts was Fouad Talalka from Hura, whose son, Samar, 24, was kidnapped by Hamas while working in Kibbutz Nir Oz.
This marked the first instance of a Bedouin family participating in such an advocacy campaign, bringing attention to the October 7 tragedy, which involved the kidnapping of seven Bedouin citizens, the murder of 19, and the injury of numerous others.
Throughout the week, the delegation met with members of the US House of Representatives across the political spectrum. These included Congressman Michael McCaul from Texas, Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania, and Jewish American Congressman Brad Schneider from Illinois. They also conveyed Samar’s story to journalist Bret Stephens from The New York Times.
Expanding their advocacy, the delegation met with prominent Arab figures in Washington. During these meetings, Fouad Talalka shared his son’s ordeal and advocated for his release.
Personal appeals and international pressure
In a heartfelt plea, Fouad called for international action: “My son was violently taken to Gaza. His fate remains unknown. He’s a young man seized by a terrorist group that recognizes no human distinction. We must not forget him or the others still held in Gaza. I urge the American government, all rational nations, and individuals to demand Hamas’s immediate release of the kidnapped. This is beyond politics. These are innocent lives, and their captors must face justice.”
Noam Bedein, the foreign relations director at Israel-is and the organizer of the delegation, highlighted the necessity of global pressure on Hamas: “To bring the kidnapped home, we must mobilize international awareness. Understanding the personal stories of these families is crucial in conveying the urgency of the situation to world leaders. Hamas’s detention of hundreds of innocents from various nations, with no information on their well-being, is a crisis unmatched in modern times.”