Israeli woman seeks reunion with her children in Gaza

Galit Poko was married to Rami Muhammas al-Kidra, who was killed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Galit Poko husband Gaza 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Galit Poko husband Gaza 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
An Israeli woman whose Palestinian husband was killed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead has launched a desperate appeal to be reunited with three of her children, who remain stranded in the Strip. Six children were born out of the marriage between Galit Poko, of Nazareth Illit, and Rami Muhammad al-Kidra, of Beit Lahiya in Gaza. They tied the knot 10 years ago. The couple initially lived in Israel before the authorities caught up with Kidra and returned him to Gaza. Poko followed her husband and children to Gaza after no longer being able to bear the separation from her family. She then returned to Israel with three of her children, splitting the family in two. The family's complex identity is evident in the dual names given to the children; Tami/Tamam, Maor/Muhammad, and Daniel, who live with their mother in Israel, and Sally/Sulima, Yasmin, and Dalia, who reside in Gaza. Poko has been in mourning since learning of her husband's death last Wednesday, sitting shiva for him and lighting a candle in his memory. In Gaza, Kidra is described by his family as a "martyr." Speaking on Channel 2 news on Thursday evening, Poko said her husband had told her to "care for our children if something happens to me." "I constantly prayed to God that nothing would happen to them," Poko added. Kidra's father said he found his son lying dead after an explosion hit the area. A news crew filmed Poko speaking to her daughter Yasmin on the phone, telling her in Arabic, "We all love you. Mom loves you more than anyone... I miss you very much. Soon you will join me." Yasmin, appearing to recite what she had been told by members of Kidra's family, said in reply, "We want you to come to us." "Father is dead," she added. "I will never travel to Gaza," Poko told her father-in-law. "Please help me get the children to me," she pleaded.