The Brazilian government has confirmed Monday that one of its citizens is believed to be among the approximately 220 hostages being held by Hamas since the October 7 invasion of Israel that left some 1,200 dead and thousands wounded.
Michel Nisenbaum, a 59-year-old originally from Niterói, Rio de Janeiro state, has been residing in Israel since 1988 after making aliyah. He currently lives in Sderot and is the father of two daughters and grandfather to five.
According to the Nisenbaums, they were speaking with Michel on the phone in the early morning of October 7 when the call abruptly ended. They recount that nearly 30 minutes later when his daughter managed to reconnect, she heard an unfamiliar voice speaking Arabic and repeatedly mentioning the name of the terrorist group Hamas.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed by the family about their suspicions that Nisenbaum had been taken by Hamas. While Israeli officers stated last week that individuals of various nationalities were among the abducted, including Brazilians, the latter information was never officially confirmed.
As of October 23, three individuals who were born in Brazil and lived in Israel have been identified as killed by Hamas: Ranani Nidejelski Glazer, 23, Bruna Valenu, 24, and Karla Stelzer, 42. They were all attending the Supernova music festival where over 260 people lost their lives during the Hamas multi-pronged attack.
Additionally, three individuals who were born in Israel to Brazilian parents also lost their lives: Gavriel Yishay Barel, 22, who was also at the festival, Celeste Fishbein, 18, who was unable to find shelter during the attack at the kibbutz where she lived with her family, and Noam Elimelech Rotenberg, 24, a sergeant with the IDF killed on duty.