New Delhi: Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who as a toddler survived the 2008 terror attack at a Jewish centre in Mumbai, had an open invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the country. He had then planned to travel to his home in the city, Chabad House when he turns 13.
That plan will get fast-forwarded by two years this week when he reaches Mumbai, accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a ceremony in Chabad House in Mumbai.
This is where the boy – Baby Moshe to millions of Indians – had lost his parents Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. They were directors of the Chabad House, popular as Nariman House, one of the sites of the terror attack in which 164 were killed.
Moshe’s nanny, Sandra Samuels, had found the toddler standing between his parents’ bodies, grabbed him and fled the building, also known as the ‘Nariman House’, which reopened in 2014 after extensive renovations. Moshe now lives in Afula, around 90 km from Jerusalem, with his grandparents.
PM Modi had made it a point to meet him during his visit to Israel in July last year and heard the young boy talk of his plans to visit Mumbai.
“I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai. When I live there I will be the director of Chabad house,” the young boy said. PM Modi, holding him close, assured, “Anytime you can come to India. Anytime you can go…” Moshe’s grandfather had then spoken of plans to visit Chabad House when he is 13.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.
Moshe is expected to arrive on Tuesday, ahead of PM Netanyahu’s arrival in Mumbai on Thursday.
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