Kfir Bibas' relatives celebrate his 1st birthday in ruined family home

Amid dried bloodstains and bullet holes covering the door, Yossi Schneider and Jimmy Miller wish for baby Kfir's return and say they've ran out of patience
Blood-stained toys lie scattered on the floor, the stench of death lingering even after over 100 days. There are bullet holes and soot. On the floor there are dried bloodstains and remains of fur belonging to Tanto, the dog Hamas terrorists murdered when they infiltrated the home of the Bibas family in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.
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Yossi Schneider and Jimmy Miller, relatives of Shiri Bibas – who was kidnapped to Gaza along with her partner Yarden and their children Ariel and Kfir – wander through the house from which they were abducted and struggle to imagine what they went through on that day.
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כפיר ביבס וקרובי משפחתו
כפיר ביבס וקרובי משפחתו
Jimmy Miller and Yossi Schneider, Kfir Bibas
(Photo: Oz Mualem)
They came to Nir Oz to celebrate the first birthday of Kfir, the sweet, ginger-haired baby known nationwide for all the wrong reasons. Later, they visited Shiri’s parents' house, which was burned down entirely on that same Saturday.
"We've lost our patience," Schneider said. "For a long time, we tried to be polite, politically correct, and consider what we say so that no one feels like we’ve chosen one side over another on the political map. I don't care; internal politics don't interest me. I'm only interested in the fact not enough is being done to bring my abducted family back."
"Sara Netanyahu said we're making too much noise," Miller added. "If Yair and Avner (Netanyahu’s children) were held in captivity, I would’ve liked to see how the government would have acted and how Sara would have behaved. A catastrophic incident happened. Terrorists came in and took such a little baby."
“Shiri and Yarden chose to live here because it was convenient and nice for them, but the state used them as human shields and abandoned them for hours. As the days go by, emotions get heavier, and it's been more than 100 days already. We don't want Kfir returned jusy when he’s old enough to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah," Miller added.
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Birthday card made for Kfir Bibas' birthday reading 'Happy birthday'
“We’re strong and we’re not giving up, but we’re asking: Where were the people who should have protected our family, and where was the government that abandoned this region?"
Schneider stared at the bullet holes riddling the doors of the home’s protected room, which was also Ariel and Kfir’s bedroom. "One can only imagine the fear they felt," he said. "I think everyone is cowardly and makes their decisions from a biased and self-interested place, not out of a balanced position."
“The priorities need to be reversed: families should come first. But instead, we talk about eliminating [Yahya] Sinwar first, then dismantling Hamas, and then returning the captives, as if they’re third in priority. And they don't understand a very simple thing - Sinwar can be eliminated tomorrow, Hamas can be toppled the day after tomorrow, but the captives have no more time," Schneider said.
"Hamas has created a precedent that has never been seen in history," Miller added. "They kidnap a baby and a child and use them as human shields. Following this precedent, there may be more cases like this in the near future, whether here or somewhere else. This isn’t something world leaders can accept without doing everything possible to release the hostages."
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The Bibas family in their home
“Other than Ori Megidish, whom the IDF somehow managed to rescue, we haven't seen any hostage being saved in a military operation or in any other way, and that's absurd. We appreciate the IDF, salute the soldiers, and hope for their well-being, but Hamas seems trained enough and planned it well in a way that makes us unable to read it," Miler said.
Suddenly, Yossi's phone rings amid the chaos, and the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" can be heard. He recently changed his ringtone to remind himself to try to worry less and be happier.
"You need something cheerful in life," he explained before they blew out the flame on the candle for Kfir's first birthday inside the room from which he was kidnapped with his parents and brother. They expressed a wish for their safe and prompt return, along with all the other Israeli hostages.
In honor of Kfir Bibas' first birthday, children who were released from Hamas captivity painted greetings for him, expressing their hope for his return. One of the touching greetings was from nine-year-old Emily Hand: "I hope you come back as soon as possible. I understand what it feels like because I was there too."
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