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Moshe arrives in Mumbai, says he’s ‘very happy’

Moshe Holtzberg welcomed at Taj Palace Hotel in Colaba

Moshe Holtzberg welcomed at Taj Palace Hotel in Colaba   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

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‘Shalom...bahut khushi’, said the 11-year-old, who lost his parents during the Mumbai terror attack in 2008

Eleven year old Moshe Holtzberg who lost his parents in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks arrived in the city on Tuesday morning. He greeted the media persons with shalom, a Jewish salutation and said ‘bahut khushi’ (very happy) before he was whisked away in a white mini van. He was accompanied by his maternal and paternal grandparents and his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel who had survived the fatal terror attack with him.

The young boy checked into the Taj and soon after visited the Nariman House (also known as the Chabad House). As the building is located in a tiny lane in Colaba, Moshe and his grandparents alighted on the main road and walked through the 100 metre path covered with a canopy for their welcome. The current head of the Nariman House, Rabbi Israel Kozolovasky who received Moshe at the airport addressed the media persons shortly after his arrival at the Nariman house. “Finally baby Moshe is back to his home first time after the 26/11 attack. This is the place where he was saved," said Mr. Kozolovasky requesting to respect the child’s privacy.

Moshe was seen waving from the window of second floor of the Nariman House. Mr. Kozolovasky said that he will be taken around the living memorial that is being constructed inside the building in remembrance of all terror attack victims including Moshe’s parents Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.

Moshe’s visit however brought back the traumatic memories of the fateful day for the residents of the area. “When he waved at us from the window, the first person I thought about was my uncle who was killed that day," said Preeti Gohil, niece of Harish Gohil who was shot by the terrorists inside the Nariman House. “At first, we thought there were fire crackers. Soon we saw the terrorists with guns at the building," said Ms. Gohil adding that her uncle stepped down out of curiosity and a bullet hit him in the chest. “Now that they are making a memorial, I feel that there is more threat to us. All the security is concentrated at the building. What about the residents in the periphery?," she asked.

Mumbai police officials and several other security persons were deployed in and around the building on Tuesday. Ahead of the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit at the Nariman house on Thursday, security personnel were seen conducting a recce in the area. Joint commissioner of police, law and order, Deven Bharti said that adequate personnel have been deployed for the security of Moshe and the people accompanying him.

 

PTI adds:

Parents killed in siege

Moshe was two years old when his parents — Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka — were killed during the siege at Nariman House by 10 Pakistani terrorists in November 2008.

The Jewish couple ran a cultural and outreach centre for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement at the Nariman House in South Mumbai’s Colaba area.

Moshe’s Indian nanny Sandra Samuels saved the child during the terror attack.

The terrorists carried out the attacks over three days in the city and killed 166 people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Moshe and his grandparents during a visit to Israel in July last and told him that he could visit India anytime.

While meeting Mr. Modi, Moshe said, “I remember our connection to Nariman House. I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai and when I get older, live there.”

“Dear Mr Modi, I love you and the people in India,” the boy had said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 12:16:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/moshe-arrives-in-mumbai-says-hes-very-happy/article22449090.ece

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