Daughter praises ‘heroic’ hostage Michel Nisenbaum as he is buried in Ashkelon

Terrorists shot grandfather of six as he was rushing to bring granddaughter to safety, and abducted his body to Gaza; hundreds take part in burial ceremony

Mourners attend the funeral of Michel Nisenbaum, who was killed during Hamas's October 7 attack and whose body was taken into Gaza, in Ashkelon, Israel, on May 26, 2024. (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)
Mourners attend the funeral of Michel Nisenbaum, who was killed during Hamas's October 7 attack and whose body was taken into Gaza, in Ashkelon, Israel, on May 26, 2024. (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

Several hundred people gathered on Sunday to attend the funeral of Michel Nisenbaum, a grandfather of six who was killed by terrorists on October 7 and whose body was then abducted to the Gaza Strip during the devastating Hamas-led attack on the country.

Nisenbaum, 59, whose body was recovered last week by the Israel Defense Forces, was buried in Ashkelon.

“We did everything so that everyone would get to know you. Sorry we weren’t able to bring you back,” said his daughter Chen in her eulogy.

“From the second the terrorists answered your cellphone, I knew that life would not be the same,” she said.

“The children will grow up and remember what a heroic grandfather you were, who was not afraid of the terrorists and saved people on the way. Thanks to you, they are here. I love and miss you. Now you are home,” she said.

“Forgive me that I didn’t manage to help you, that I didn’t manage to bring you back sooner,” Chen said. “Over the past seven months, we did everything to bring you back.”

Michel Nisenbaum. (Courtesy)

“I want to thank Michel for the wonderful family we built together,” his ex-wife Morelia said, recalling their two daughters. “Thank you for six grandchildren and one more on the way, who were your entire world, and mine. The endless support, for being part of my life. You will always be in my heart.”

Ayala, Nisenbaum’s niece, speaking at the funeral, called on the government to bring back the hostages “as soon possible.”

“I prayed that they kidnapped you alive, I hoped that you would tell me that you didn’t suffer,” she said. “You were like a big brother to me, and also to my children.”

Nisenbaum, originally from Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, moved to Israel in 1988.

After his body was recovered from Gaza, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement that Nisenbaum “was a man of many talents who, alongside his work, also volunteered for Magen David Adom and the Border Police.”

On October 7, as the massive Hamas terror attack on Israel began with a barrage of thousands of missiles, Nisenbaum left his Sderot home to collect his granddaughter who was with her officer father at the Re’im military base. By that time, the thousands of terrorists who burst through the border with Gaza under cover of the rockets had begun rampaging murderously through southern Israel.

According to his family, after Nisenbaum left his home in Sderot he managed to help other people to safety, saving their lives. Terrorists overran the border city, killing over 50 civilians and more than 20 police officers. Nisenbaum continued his journey to the military base and, according to an IDF assessment was killed near Mefalsim and his body taken to Gaza.

The Hamas attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Terrorists also abducted 252 people of all ages as captives, dead and alive, to Gaza.

Chen and Michelle, daughters of Michel Nisenbaum who was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip pose for a picture on February 27, 2024. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Nisenbaum’s body was brought back to Israel in a military operation, along with those of Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Orión Hernández Radoux, 30.

Yablonka’s funeral will be held later Sunday evening in Tel Aviv. Radoux will apparently be flown to his home country of Mexico, Channel 13 reported. His parents live in France and Chile.

Nisenbaum, Yablonka, and Radoux were kidnapped from an area where, according to the IDF, Hamas terrorists murdered and abducted four more hostages whose bodies were recovered last week from a tunnel in Jabaliya.

The IDF said the bodies of the three hostages were recovered in a joint operation by the military and Shin Bet security agency in Jabaliya, following the analysis of “precise intelligence” that had been obtained in recent days in Gaza.

Radoux, a Mexican-French national, was the boyfriend of Shani Louk, one of four hostages whose bodies were found in Jabaliya last week. Radoux and Yablonka — along with Louk and two more hostages whose bodies were recovered last week — were at the Supernova music festival near the border community of Re’im when it was attacked by Hamas terrorists.

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