Hostage's Daughter Recalls Oct. 7 Horror During Visit to Cleveland

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Batya Mantzur, a daughter of Shlomo Mantzur, one of the hostages still in Gaza, speaking to Jewish Federation of Cleveland leaders at Mantzur's home. Submitted photo.


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

Eight months ago, Shlomo Mantzur was believed to be taken from his home in Kibbutz Kissufim into Gaza during the Hamas surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. His family, including his daughter, Batya Mantzur – who traveled to Cleveland from June 4 to June 6 – still holds out hope of seeing him again.

“There’s no other choice,” Batya Mantzur told the Cleveland Jewish News on June 6. “We need to be strong for him to come (home). And until (anybody) says anything different, you want to believe that he is alive and we’re going to get him back.”

In town to speak at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Women IN Philanthropy signature event on June 5 for Pomegranate Society and Lion of Judah Society donors and another group of donors on June 6, Batya Mantzur spoke to the CJN about what her father and family have gone through since Oct. 7.

“It started at about 6:30, the siren, the alarm,” she recounted. “The minute it started with the sound, we understood it was not the same as we’re used to – different noises and more often.”

At that time, she turned on her television as her daughter called Shlomo and his wife, Mazal, to tell them to go into the bomb shelter. While Shlomo and Mazal were trying to get their TV working to see what was happening, Hamas terrorists shot down their door, demanded their car keys and took them outside to the car while they were still in their pajamas.

The couple pleaded with the terrorists as they slapped a handcuffed Shlomo on the way to the car. Then, seeing an opportunity, Mazal ran to her neighbors, who let her into their bomb shelter, Batya Mantzur said.

“And that’s the last time she saw my dad,” she said. “... During the day, a few members (of the kibbutz) could tell that they saw my dad’s car in different points in the kibbutz. We don’t know whether he was inside or not because nobody saw him inside the car, and my mom didn’t see him get in the car. But, there’s no dad and no car – this is what I know, this is what we know.”

Shlomo celebrated his 86th birthday and 60th wedding anniversary days apart in March while still believed to be held in captivity in Gaza. In addition to Batya, he has four other children and 12 grandchildren that were not living at Kibbutz Kissufim on Oct. 7, but visited often.

Batya recalled her “very happy childhood” being raised on the kibbutz until she moved away after her army service. She had recently moved back to the area to be close to her parents. But, after her community was evacuated in the days following Oct. 7, she has had to move around and live in hotels.

“It’s very difficult when you don’t have your place and need to move,” Batya said. “And it’s hard to be in a hotel all the time – all the noise, a lot of people there. You don’t have patience for anything, you just want your quiet.”

Batya Mantzur became acquainted with the Cleveland Jewish community earlier this year when her parents’ kibbutz entered a partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland to help with the rebuilding of the community. Kibbutz Kissufim, a community of 318, lost 17 residents on Oct. 7, and one in the days that followed. Shlomo is the only hostage thought to be taken from the community.

After the partnership was announced, the Federation took a delegation to the kibbutz and met with Batya and two of her siblings as they showed the group their parents’ home and told them what happened. They were invited to come to Cleveland, and Batya visited with her two children.

She expressed thanks to the Cleveland Jewish community for its support and urged it to continue to be there with them.

“I just wanted them to be there, to still stay with us,” Batya said. “I know they are, they care very much and want to do and help with anything. It’s very warming.”

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