NEW DELHI (AP) — Moshe Holtzberg, a boy whose parents were killed at a Jewish center in Mumbai during a 2008 terror attack, returned to India for the first time Tuesday to visit the site of the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi for a six-day visit Sunday and will travel to Mumbai on Thursday where he will visit the Chabad Center where Holtzberg’s parents, Rabbi Gabriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah, were gunned down as 10 Muslim militants rampaged through Mumbai in a three-day siege. Netanyahu is to unveil a memorial to the 166 people who were killed in the attacks.
Moshe was 2 at the time of the attack and was carried to safety by his nanny, who found him by his parents’ bodies. Holtzberg’s parents were emissaries of the Chabad movement living in Mumbai at the time. Chabad is a Hasidic group known for its religious outreach programs serving Jews worldwide.
The 11-year-old boy visited Mumbai’s Chabad Center Tuesday afternoon with his grandparents.
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Before his arrival, Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, the head of the Chabad Trust in India, told reporters that members were “very excited for the upcoming visit of Baby Moshe, who is not anymore a baby. But he will always remain in our heart as baby Moshe”.
He’s coming back to “the very place where his life was miraculously saved by his Indian nanny.”
Sandra Samuel, the boy’s nanny, traveled to Israel with him after his parents were killed and was given Israeli citizenship. On Tuesday, she accompanied him and his relatives as they arrived in Mumbai.
Netanyahu on Thursday will unveil a memorial to all the victims of the Mumbai attack, Kozlovsky said. There will be a special memorial for Moshe’s parents, “who dedicated their lives to establish this center and they have run it until the last breath of their life,” Kozlovsky said.
Netanyahu’s visit to India is his first and marks 25 years since India and Israel established diplomatic relations. Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.
During the Cold War, India did not have open relations with Israel, leaning heavily in favor of the Palestinians. But over the past quarter of a century ties between the two countries have warmed.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu and his wife visited Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
Speaking at a news conference in New Delhi later Tuesday, Netanyahu said India and Israel are “challenged by radical Islam and its terrorist offshoots from a variety of corners.”
Netanyahu on Wednesday was to travel to Gujarat, Modi’s home state, before heading to Mumbai, where he will also meet with business leaders.
This story has been corrected to show that nanny, not boy was given Israeli citizenship; nanny’s surname is Samuel, not Samuels.