Just two weeks ago, Croatia welcomed a new family into its community. The eight-member Palestinian family Elaydy, who also hold Croatian citizenship, were evacuated from war-torn Gaza to Egypt and then transferred to Zagreb before settling down in Vukovar. Esame Elaydy, the head of the family, has previously given interviews while waiting for Croatia to help him rescue his wife and six children – five daughters and a son – in Egypt.
Esame is a Croatian veteran who lived in Croatia until 2000 before moving to Gaza with his sick mother. He had started a family there just before the start of the war in Gaza. While on vacation in Egypt to renew his Croatian passport and arrange documents for his family, he was caught up in the conflict and was unable to return home. With the help of the Croatian embassy in Egypt, he and his family were able to escape from Gaza where they lived under difficult conditions amidst closed borders.
The small Slavonian house that they now call home is an oasis of peace for them at this time. It was generously given to them by a resident of Vukovar who owns a construction company. Before their arrival, his workers lived there temporarily so that they could stay comfortably during their visit. Esame expressed his gratitude towards him but did not know how to thank him enough.
The Red Cross helped them with basic necessities such as food and clothing while they settled into their new home. They also received financial aid from the Ministry of Veterans Affairs for being a veteran of the Croatian War for Independence. However, Esame is determined to solve all documentation issues as soon as possible so that he can find employment and support his growing family – which includes two high school students studying IT and nursing respectively, along with two college students studying law and computer science respectively – all hopeful that they can continue their education in Croatia one day. The eldest daughter Batoul had difficulty adjusting to leaving her friends behind but is now grateful for her safety and ability to finally rest after years of fearful living conditions in Gaza.