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Matan Zangauker

24

Matan and his partner, Ilana Gritzewsky (30), residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz, were kidnapped on October 7 by Hamas terrorists from their home.
During the attack on his kibbutz, Matan was in constant communication with his mother, Einav Zangauker. Einav resides in the nearby town of Ofakim, which was also under attack. As the situation escalated, Matan reassured his mother, who was worried about the safety of her son and his partner. Matan texted to his mother: “we're fine, we're in the safe room”. But then he wrote that the terrorists were inside their house. He texted "I love you, don't cry" and finally, "(They are) Here. Here. Here." His last messages to her were filled with love and comfort. The whereabouts of Nuni, Matan's dog, are also unknown.
Matan and his mother Einav share a special, close bond. Matan has been a figure of stability and support, the cornerstone of his family. His parents divorced when he was young, leaving him to often care for his younger sisters. He is known for his independence, maturity, and readiness to offer help. People are often surprised to find out Matan is only 24 years old, being so mature and supportive.
Matan and Ilana, who made aliyah from Mexico 14 years ago under the Naala Program, used to spend every Friday night with the Zangauker family in Ofakim. Ilana’s decision to move to Israel, where her immediate family later joined her, and her relationship with an Israeli, were seen as significant achievements, symbolizing her integration into Israeli society.
Matan’s partner, Ilana Gritzewsky, was freed on November 30th, after spending 55 days in Hamas captivity, following a temporary cease-fire agreement.

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