Orphan saved from Mumbai terror attack tells Modi he wants to return
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'I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai, and when I get older, live there. I will be the director of our Chabad House'

Orphan saved from Mumbai terror attack tells Modi he wants to return

‘I love you and your people in India,’ 11-year-old Moshe, son of murdered Chabad emissaries Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, says during emotional meeting with visiting premier

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C-L) embraces Moshe Holtzberg (C), son of slain US Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed with his wife in the November 26, 2008 attacks on the Nariman Chabad house in Mumbai, on July 5, 2017.   (AFP Photo/Pool/Atef Safadi)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C-L) embraces Moshe Holtzberg (C), son of slain US Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed with his wife in the November 26, 2008 attacks on the Nariman Chabad house in Mumbai, on July 5, 2017. (AFP Photo/Pool/Atef Safadi)

The 11-year-old son of Chabad emissaries who were murdered in a 2008 jihadist rampage in Mumbai told visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he loves India and wants to return to complete the mission of his slain parents, during an emotional meeting Wednesday.

Modi met with Moshe Holtzberg, pulling the boy close for an embrace and telling him that he would always be welcome in India.

Moshe’s nanny, Sandra Samuel, escaped from the Nariman Chabad House carrying 2-year-old Moshe in November 2008 after the building came under siege. Four Jewish victims were killed, including Moshe’s parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. Samuel has remained in Israel and was at the meeting as well.

The terror attacks on several Mumbai sites over four days by an Islamist Pakistani group, including two hotels and the train station, left 166 dead and hundreds injured.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C-L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-R) meet with Moshe Holtzberg (C), son of slain US Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed with his wife in the November 26, 2008 attacks on the Nariman Chabad house in Mumbai, and with other relatives at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 5, 2017. ( AFP PHOTO / POOL / ATEF SAFADI)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C-L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-R) meet with Moshe Holtzberg (C), son of slain US Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed with his wife in the November 26, 2008, attacks on the Nariman Chabad house in Mumbai, and with other relatives at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 5, 2017. ( AFP PHOTO / POOL / ATEF SAFADI)

Modi’s encounter with the boy came during a three-day visit to Israel this week that has been described by Israeli and Indian officials as “historic.”

Mumbai's Chabad House, where Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, his wife, Rivka, and four other hostages were killed by Islamist terrorists in November 2008. The couple's young son survived the attack, thanks to his Indian nanny. (photo credit: Serge Attal/Flash90)
Mumbai’s Chabad House, where Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, his wife, Rivka, and four other hostages were killed by Islamist terrorists in November 2008. The couple’s young son survived the attack, thanks to his Indian nanny. (photo credit: Serge Attal/Flash90)

At their meeting at a hotel in Tel Aviv, Modi immediately embraced Moshe, pulling him close and cupping his head against his chest before inviting him to come back to India.

The boy, accompanied by his grandparents who are raising him, welcomed the Indian premier to Israel.

Wearing a lapel pin with Indian and Israeli flags, he read out a message in halting English, telling Modi, “I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai, and when I get older, live there. I will be the director of our Chabad House” in place of his murdered father. “With God’s help, this is my answer.”

“Dear Mr. Modi,” Holtzberg concluded, “I love you and your people in India.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then turned to the boy and said, “Moshe, Prime Minister Modi invited me to come to India. You will come with me to Mumbai.”

Moshe was accompanied during the visit by both sets of grandparents, Nahman and Freida Holtzberg and Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg and Samuel, who was given permanent residency status in Israel to be with Moshe after the attack.

Samuel was greeted warmly by Modi.

Moshe Holtzberg, an Israeli child whose parents were killed it the Mumbai attack, with his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel on August 18, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)
Moshe Holtzberg, an Israeli child whose parents were killed it the Mumbai attack, with his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel on August 18, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

“It was very exciting to meet the prime ministers, I was very nervous, it’s prime ministers,” she told Channel 2 after the meeting.

“When he becomes 18 I will go back to my country, so I have many years still to be with him,” she said.

In Mumbai, the current Chabad emissary Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky welcomed the meeting and said he hoped it would bring attention to the memorial museum built in the Holtzbergs’ memory.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 5, 2017 meets with Moshe Holtzberg, the now 12-year-old son of two Chabad emissaries who were killed in a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. (Haim Tzach, GPO)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 5, 2017 meets with Moshe Holtzberg, the now 12-year-old son of two Chabad emissaries who were killed in a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. (Haim Tzach, GPO)

“We’re glad that Prime Minister Modi met with Moshe and recognized the sacrifice of his parents, an exceptional couple and our personal role models, to establish Chabad-Lubavitch in Mumbai and their service to the Jewish people,” Kozlovsky said.

“My wife, Chaya, and I are humbled to be a part of, and to continue the holy work of Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, and are working diligently on actualizing the dream of a Memorial Museum at Nariman House that will help continue their legacy.”

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