Israelis marking the first birthday of Kfir Bibas in captivity of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, Jan 18, 2024. (Photo/JTA-Avshalom Sassoni-Flash90)
Israelis marking the first birthday of Kfir Bibas in captivity of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, Jan 18, 2024. (Photo/JTA-Avshalom Sassoni-Flash90)

As Kfir Bibas turns 1 in captivity, supporters from Tel Aviv to Davos mark ‘the saddest birthday in the world’

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Three weeks after her cousin was abducted and taken to Gaza along with her family, Yifar Zailer said she knew one thing for sure: “I don’t want to be here in two months, celebrating Kfir’s first birthday.”

And yet that’s exactly what Zailer did on Thursday, returning to Hostages Square in Tel Aviv for what her family had dubbed “the saddest birthday in the world.”

Zailer was there along with hundreds of others to mark the first birthday of Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage to be taken hostage when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Kfir and his 4-year-old brother Ariel became an early face to the hostage crisis that morning, when Hamas released a video clip showing them being abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with their mother Shiri, whose terror was visible. Their father Yarden Bibas was also abducted.

Deborah Danan

JTA correspondent