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Hebrew media review

Return to Mumbai

11-year-old boy's visit to the place his parents were murdered in 2008 terror attack captures Israel's Hebrew-language newspapers

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Moshe Holtzberg, son of slain Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed along with his wife in the November 26, 2008 attacks, reacts as he arrives with his grandparents at the Chabad house in Mumbai on January 16, 2018. (AFP Photo/Punit Paranjpe)
Moshe Holtzberg, son of slain Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed along with his wife in the November 26, 2008 attacks, reacts as he arrives with his grandparents at the Chabad house in Mumbai on January 16, 2018. (AFP Photo/Punit Paranjpe)

The emotional story of the boy who returned to the site of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks where his parents were killed captures most of the attention of the Hebrew-language media on Wednesday.

Eleven-year-old Moshe Holtzberg made the visit to the Mumbai Chabad House on Tuesday, where his parents, Rivkah and Gabriel Holtzberg, were gunned down as 10 Muslim terrorists rampaged through the Indian city in a three-day spree.

“Moishe’s return to India,” reads Yedioth Ahronoth’s headline on page 2. Reporters from the daily accompanying Holtzberg to the Chabad house noted the Jewish center was still riddled with bullet holes and marks of RPG fire from the attack.

Also unchanged was Holtzberg’s bedroom, which still has the Hebrew alphabet on his walls that his mother painted for him when he was a baby.

The paper said Moshe appeared “especially emotional” when he met the son of the current Chabad emissaries, who was named after his father, Gabriel.

Yedioth also notes the interest of the local media, who “took a great deal of interest in Moshe and his well being.”

Israel Hayom calls Moshe’s return to Mumbai the “closing of a circle,” and describes the memorial erected to the memory of the Holzbergs at the Chabad center.

Chabad Mumbai Director Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, right, and his wife and co-director Chaya Kozlovsky look through a presentation booklet for the forthcoming memorial for the victims of the 26/11 terror attack at their home in Mumbai, January 12, 2018. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP)

“We are very excited,” Chabad Mumbai director Rabbi Israel Kozloaski told the paper. “This is the closing of a circle because Moshe is returning to the site of the attack for the first time.”

“Its also the opening of a circle, because Moshe is proof of victory over those who seek to kill us,” Kozloaski added.

Israel’s major newspapers on Wednesday are equally impressed by the first-ever woman to be named commander of an aviation squad in the Israel Air Force.

Yedioth on its front page proudly declares the pilot, identified only as Lt. Col. “Tet,” has “made history” and is a “source of national pride.”

The paper also gives equal coverage to the backlash her promotion has caused in the religious community, highlighting the larger debate in Israel regarding the role of women in the IDF.

The daily calls the remarks by leading right-wing rabbi Shlomo Aviner — who yesterday forbade religious male soldiers from joining mixed-gender units — an “extremist message.”

Aviner told Yedioth in a subsequent interview that he stood by his remarks, and that “when this issue is addressed and fixed, then we’ll enlist.”

In an accompanying op-ed, Chen Sror Artzi denounces Aviner for making unrealistic demands of the army.

Maj. ‘Tet,’ who was named the air force’s first female aviation squadron commander, poses for a picture with her children and dog on January 16, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

“An army isn’t just a group of fighters and secretaries, this is an army of brothers and sisters in arms,” she writes. “Aviner’s urging young people not to serve is sad, but more than that it reflects a complete detachment from reality.”

The more conservative Israel Hayom also hails Tet for breaking glass ceilings, but barely makes any mention of Aviner’s controversial call for desertion.

Unlike Yedioth and Israel Hayom, Haaretz forgoes the feel-good stories in favor of more serious news developments.

The left-wing daily leads its Wednesday paper with an exclusive report detailing the extent of the corruption within Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.

Its top story details how Liberman’s associates have been allowed to take control of Israel’s infrastructure projects and levels more corruption accusations against Israel Beytenu.

The paper also reports that the IDF is considering taking control of several neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

According to Haaretz sources, the army wants to assume security responsibilities for Shuafat refugee camp and Kfar Aqab, two Palestinian neighborhoods that are within the municipal bounds of Jerusalem, but are cut off from the city by the security barrier.

Sources in the defense establishment confirmed to Haaretz that the IDF’s Central Command and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories are reviewing the matter.

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