At site of terror attack, 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg thankful for life
PM Netanyahu with Moshe Holtzberg at Chabad House in Mumbai as they dedicate a memorial to the 2008 attack, January 18, 2018 (GPO)
MUMBAI — Moshe Holtzberg, the 11-year old boy saved by his nanny nine years ago during the terrorist attack at the Chabad House here returned to that home on Thursday and — in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — recited a prayer of thanksgiving to God for sparing his life.
Jokingly, the shy boy with large white framed glasses also recited a blessing for Netanyahu fulfilling his promise to bring him back to Mumbai. Netanyahu made that promise during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel last year. “Prime Minister Modi invited me to India. You’ll come with me to Mumbai,” Netanyahu said at the time.
“May you be blessed for fulfilling your promise to Moishe,” he said, as the camera whirled in the fourth floor at the Chabad House. Netanyahu was there to unveil what will become a “living memorial” to the victims of the 2008 terror attack.
The carnage that took the life of Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, serving as Chabad emissaries — along with six others — took place on the fifth and sixth floors, which were their residence and have been left pretty much as they were found after the attack.
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor, the director of Chabad in Thailand, said the idea in not refurbishing the two floors, where bullet holes and even a gaping hole caused by an RPG are evident, is not cover up the signs of the tragedy but rather use them as a “catalyst.”
“Take the tragedy that shook the world, that ripped the world, and make it something to inspire the world, make it into a living memorial, not just the lighting of one single flame. Turn it into a building that will inspire people to commit themselves to universal morality,” he said, speaking before Netanyahu.
The people of Israel lives and will continue to live and flourish on the strength of their faith, love and actions, actions which are expressed in houses such as these, and a new one to be built,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu paid tribute to Moshe’s Indian nanny, Sandra Samuels, who – along with Moshe’s grandparents with whom he lives in Afula – accompanied him back to the house.
Soon after walking into the hall, Netanyahu sat next to Moishe, and gave him a kiss on the head.
“I see that you are developing and growing nicely,” he said. “Pretty soon you will be have a bar mitzvah, and then later you will start a family. The people of Israel will accompany you the entire way,” he said
Netanyahu said that what happened at the Chabad center was an expression of both the love of Israel and the hatred of Israel.
The hatred of Israel was evident by the terrorists who murdered Moshe’s parents. The love of Israel was expressed by Moshe’s parents, who dedicated their lives to establishing a warm house of Jews in Mumbai, he said. And he said it expressed by Samuels, “this wonderful woman,” who saved Moshe.