Sergeant First Class (res.) Ahmad Abu Latif, 26, from Rahat, is remembered as a man with endless pride for his service in an IDF Bedouin battalion, which gained renewed vigor after the October 7th massacre. He left behind his wife and one-year-old daughter.
He was among the twenty-one soldiers killed in the recent building collapse in southern Gaza.
In a Facebook post, which went viral, he told Ynet and Yediot Aharonot about his determination to fight Hamas.
"I am proud to be an Israeli Bedouin. As far as I am concerned, the people that I live with and work with are my brothers and sisters, and we all live together and respect one another in our land."
“I am proud to be a Bedouin who serves in the IDF as a combat soldier in a Bedouin battalion. I merited to protect and defend, in meaningful service that I will never forget. My service showed me my strengths and capabilities to deal with challenges and I met amazing people that became my lifelong friends."
"I am so very happy that I have a chance to connect to people in our society, and to connect between cultures, I am happy that I can invite my friends to eat meat and maqluba in Rahat, and be their guests in the backyards of the kibbutz Shoval, where they play guitar and sing songs of by Yehudit Ravitz. I am happy that I can hike through the land with my friends and I am most happy when they learn Arabic, try to talk to me in Arabic, and ask me to help them.”
He told of one incident that happened, two days after the massacre. “On October 9th at eight o’clock in the evening, I was driving with my brother-in-law to distribute food to soldiers in Beit Kama near Rahat. Along the way, we could not miss the police cars, and at the same time, we received messages that terrorists had broken into the area around Mishmar Hanegev, near Rahat. Because we are armed, and professional security guards, we rushed there immediately and joined the police forces. It was the least we could do, and we had the good fortune to take part in defending our home. Since the war broke out, we have heard much about the involvement of Arab civilians, and that the fallen include Bedouins, Druze, Muslims, and Christians, who died as heroes defending the state, and there is nothing greater than that.’’
‘’The Bedouin community mourns the civilians killed despite having done no wrong, Jews, Christians, or Muslims. I would like to take this chance to wake up everyone who read this - we are all part of the same destiny, and we all need to be together and united.”
“Unfortunately, there are those who do not believe in cooperation between races, and attempt to intimidate, incite, and destroy our relationships, our trust. Do not believe them, and do not let that happen.”
“Gaza is completely different today. There are murderous terrorist organizations that make no distinction between Jew and Arab.”
“In my community, people have given much to the state. We have proven who we are and what we are worth. Both conscript and career soldiers from our community gave everything for the state.”
“It is important to show that we are part of Israeli society. There are many Bedouins who are hurt by discrimination, but we feel ourselves an inseparable part of Israeli society.”