Modi’s three-day visit beginning Tuesday — the first ever of an Indian Premier to Israel — is a landmark moment for the Jewish state, a country seeking the friendship of powerful allies and customers for its advanced military equipment.
On his visit, PM Modi plans to meet with 10-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, the Jewish toddler-survivor of 26/11.
Moshe was only two when his father, Rabbi Gavriel, and mother Rivka, six months pregnant at the time, were killed by Pakistani terrorists at the Nariman House, Mumbai’s Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish centre.
Baby Moshe was in the same building during the 26/11 carnage, somehow still alive. He was sitting next to his parents’ bullet-riddled bodies, crying but uninjured when Sandra Samuel found him. Samuel, then, risked her life and fled the Nariman House with baby Moshe.
“PM Modi is expected to meet Moshe who was just a baby at the time, now he is all grown up,” says Israel’s ambassador to India Daniel Carmon. “I think it will be a very emotional meeting with a very strong message.”
PM Modi is also supposed to meet Sandra Samuel, the Indian nanny who saved Moshe’s life during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
“It’s a huge honour and comes as a pleasant surprise. I am deeply touched. It is a clear indication that the Indian government cares for the victims of 26/11 terror attack,” said Samuel regarding the meet.
Eight years after the attack, she now works at a rehabilitation home for disabled children named Aleh Jerusalem Center. Every Saturday night she takes Bus No. 959 to Afula, 95 km away, where Moshe lives with Rivkah’s parents, she said. Samuel said while Moshe was too young at the time of the 26/11 attack but she is prepared to tell him everything when he wants to know. “But I am waiting for him to ask those questions. I remember everything, it’s like a framed picture or a movie in my head. Those hellish moments are stuck in my head,” she said. “I worked with his family as a nanny for the first three-four years, till he became six years old, and then moved to Jerusalem for full-time work as a nanny for disabled children. Those years were quite challenging because of Moshe. I had to keep all my emotions in check. I had to be very strong for him,” she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is travelling to Israel on July 4.
By: Simran Dhingra