Mumbai: Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who survived the terror attacks on Mumbai in 2008 when he was just two, returned to the city to visit the Jewish centre where his parents were killed by terrorists from Pakistan.
He arrived at Mumbai airport on Tuesday morning with his grandparents and looked a little dazed as his grandfather Rabbi Holtzberg Nachman tried to protect him from mediapersons. His grandfather said, “This is a special day. Thank God that Moshe could come again. Mumbai is a lot safer now.”
The young lad also said: “Shalom … bahut khushi [I’m very happy]”.
On November 26, 2008, terrorists attacked Nariman House, also known as Chabad House, where his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were serving as directors at the centre run by Chabad-Lubavitch group in the crowded Colaba area in South Mumbai. Along with six others at the centre, the Jewish couple were shot by the terrorists — with other attackers going on a rampage at a hospital, Chhatrapati Shivaji rail terminus, Taj and Oberoi hotels, Leopold restaurant and at other places killing 164 people and wounding over 300.
Moshe, who was found with his wounded parents on that tragic day, was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel who carried him out of the building to safety and since then she has been living in Israel. She is now accompanying Moshe.
Moshe will on Thursday, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, unveil a memorial at Nariman House in memory of Moshe’s parents and the victims of 26/11 attacks.
Rabbi Israeli Kozlovsky, the current director of Chabad house in Colaba, said earlier, “We are very excited about this upcoming visit of Moshe Hotzberg with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We are heartened to see him here again in Nariman House, the very place where he was miraculously saved by his nanny.
“This visit is very emotional for Moshe. He is here to see the living memorial project.” The Living Memorial Project will take up the top two floors and terrace of the building.
Baby Moshe, as he is referred by Mumbai’s media, will fly back to Israel with Netanyahu on January 19.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Moshe during his visit to Israel when he came along with his maternal grandparents Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and Yehudit Rosenberg. In a welcome speech for Modi, Moshe said, “I want to ask you something from all of us: Please continue to love me forever. Thank you. And always remember my parents. I live in Afula, but I remember our connection to Nariman House — I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai and when I get older, I live there. Dear Mr Modi, I love you and the people in India.”