Press Release

‘I realized I was the only survivor’

Aziz Al-Kolak made it out of the rubble, but four generations of his family did not.

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Aziz Al-Kolak is 10 years old. He and his family — civilians — were victims in an Israeli bombing on May 16 that left him stuck in rubble for six hours. He survived, but 23 members of his family — including both his parents and both his younger siblings — did not.

His father Ezzat Al-Kolak, was a lawyer, and his mother, Duaa Al-Hatta, was an engineer. Aziz’s two little brothers were Zaid and Adam, aged 8 and 4. Four generations of the Al-Kolak family were wiped out that day, ages ranging from 6 months young to 90 years old.

“I realized I was the only survivor,” Aziz said in the hospital after the attack. “I watched my mom and dad bleed to death.”

He was later pictured mourning alone in front of his mother's body, which was covered in a white sheet. Aziz appears to have no major physical injuries, but the psychological toll cannot be ignored.

All alone, Aziz will never feel his family’s loving embrace again. He must now carry on without them, vulnerable and displaced.

So humanitarians of the world are rallying to support him. His relative in the United States, Omar El-Qoulaq, reached out to us at Zakat Foundation of America seeking help for Aziz to survive and heal.

There is no way we can let Aziz down.

“When we woke up and heard about the attack, we were just overwhelmed by the scale of the tragedy,” Omar said. “When we found out Aziz was the lone survivor in his family, we were completely heartbroken. We immediately knew we had to use our community’s immense privilege and resources in the United States to ensure both that the family had a chance to rebuild and that Aziz could have a chance at living a life of dignity.”

Omar opted to work with Zakat Foundation of America because of its proven track record as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has provided relief for Palestinians since its founding 20 years ago.

Zakat Foundation of America is pledging to provide the care and assistance he will need.

Help us:
  • Rebuild homes on the block that were destroyed by these airstrikes,

  • Give Aziz the medical assistance he needs

  • Provide Aziz with ongoing medical care; including mental health services

  • Support Aziz with orphan care such as food, education, and more

The humanitarian aid organization is confident with its track record of working with staff and partners in the region including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), that they will be able to fulfill the above with all proceeds dedicated toward rebuilding Aziz’s life. That means providing him the best care possible, including housing, psychotherapy, food, health care and education. And perhaps the greatest gift of all: knowing he is not alone in the world.

100% of all funds raised will be dedicated to this emergency appeal.

(We are also helping other Palestinians just like Aziz. Our staff and partners are on the ground delivering aid to 1000 families weekly. You can learn more about our emergency relief efforts here.)

Aziz’s family is from the neighborhood called a-Rimal in central Gaza, near the coast. Here are all 23 names of his relatives who were bombed. Please take a moment to pray for them:

Amin Muhammad Al-Kolak

Sa’diyeh Yusef Al-Kolak

Abdelhamid Fawaz Al-Kolak

Fawaz Amin Al-Kolak (Abu Waseem)

Reham Fawaz Al-Kolak

Ezzat Mu’in Al-Kolak (Abu Aziz)

Duaa Omar Al-Kolak (Um Aziz)

Zaid Ezzat Al-Kolak

Adam Ezzat Al-Kolak

Sameh Fawaz Al-Kolak (Abu Qusai)

Ayat Ibrahim Al-Kolak (Um Qusai)

Qusai Sameh Al-Kolak

Taher Shukri Al-Kolak

Ahmad Shukri Al-Kolak

Hana Shukri Al-Kolak

Muhammad Mu’in Al-Kolak

Muhammad ‘Awni Al-Kolak

Amal Jameel Al-Kolak

Khitam Saleem Al-Kolak

Baha’ Amin Al-Kolak

Hala Muhammad Al-Kolak

Yara Muhammad Al-Kolak

Rula Muhammad Al-Kolak