The tiny Israeli victim of the 2008 Mumbai attacks who was saved by his Indian nanny, Moshe Holtzberg is slated to visit Mumbai – the city of his birth and the city where he was brutally orphaned.
Moshe will be 11 this year and though he wanted to visit India when he turned 13, his trip has been fast-tracked by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel last year where he left the boy an open invitation.
He reaches Mumbai next week as part of the team accompanying the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Natanyahu is on a six-day official visit to India. They are supposed to hold a ceremony in Chabad House. This is the exact same place where the then two-year old had lost his parents to terrorist bullets in 2008 along with 164 other innocent victims in what is popularly known as the 26/11 attack.
His parents, Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg were directors of the Chabad House, popularly known as Nariman House, one of the sites of the terror attack.
Holtzberg and his wife were gunned down during the 2008 Mumbai attacks perpetrated by Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The baby was right there and was somehow saved.
Moshe’s nanny, Sandra Samuels, had found the toddler standing between his dead parents when she grabbed and fled the building with the child. This one move had saved the child’s life. The Chabad House stayed closed till 2014 for extensive renovations. Moshe now lives in Afula, around 90 km from Jerusalem, with his grandparents.
Last year on an official visit to Israel, PM Modi had asked to meet the boy. Upon their meeting, Moshe had said, “I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai. When I live there I will be the director of Chabad House.”
Hearing his brave words, Modi, held him in a hug had assured, “Anytime you can come to India. Anytime you can go…”
Apart from the ceremony at Chabad House, Israel’s envoy to India Daniel Carmon has said there could be “other elements of participation of Moshe who has gone through a terrible tragedy and his coming here” but did not elaborate.
The Israeli envoy noted that the 26/11 terror attack was a terrible attack not only against India, but also against Jews and Israelis.
Moshe is expected to arrive on Tuesday, ahead of PM Netanyahu’s arrival in Mumbai on Thursday.