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Ditza Heiman

84

Ditza Heiman was born and raised in Rishon LeZion and joined Kibbutz Nir Oz with her Nahal group, becoming one of the founders of Nir Oz. For many years, Ditza cared for the babies of the kibbutz as a kindergarten teacher and caregiver. Later in life, she studied social work and worked as a social worker and welfare officer in the Eshkol Regional Council, before continuing her career at the Be'er Sheva District Court. Ditza was an independent and active woman, working well into her 80s. She is a mother of four, a grandmother to 12, and a great-grandmother to five, with additional adopted grandchildren. Her granddaughter Sivan describes her as a true family anchor, known for hosting lovely family gatherings on Shabbat and holidays. Ditza is also known for her famous yet simple chicken soup, and her love for playing Rummikub. She played with family, friends from the kibbutz, and regularly with her husband, who passed away last year.
Ditza, sharp-minded and independent, represents the pioneering spirit, the generation willing to stay through uncertainty and danger, embodying the sentiment, "This is home. Where else could we go?" Little did she know what the future held.
On Saturday October 7, Kibbutz Nir Oz was heavily attacked by the Hamas terror organization, with a quarter of its residents kidnapped or murdered. In the morning hours, terrorists invaded the home of 84-year-old Ditza, who was hopelessly shouting for help. The terrorists kidnapped Ditza, and took her without her medications or glasses into Gaza. When her family attempted to call her that afternoon, they heard Arabic voices on the line. Days later, Ditza appeared in a video posted by Hamas, showing her being led away by terrorists, alone and terrified.
Ditza relies on a wheelchair, has difficulty walking, and needs her medication. "Imagining her managing to lie down on a mattress on the floor and then get back up is nearly impossible," shared a neighbor who lived through the dreadful attack.

Ditza endured 53 days in Hamas captivity without her medications, faced starvation, and lived under extremely tough conditions. She was released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement in late November. "Mom is back with us, and considering everything she has been through, she's doing relatively well," her son Gideon Heiman remarked. "Throughout those days, my mother was devoid of any medical care—no medications, no visit from a medic," he noted. He added, "She was held in severe conditions, the kind that might challenge even the resilience of the young, both physically and mentally." Since regaining her freedom, Ditza has tirelessly worked towards the release of her fellow kibbutz members and the remaining hostages.

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