Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who was just two years old when he lost his parents in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, and his family to India and offered them long-term visas as he met them in Israel.
Modi, in a special gesture, met Moshe, now 11, along his grandparents and Indian nanny Sandra Samuels, who managed to escape with him from the Nariman House which came under attack by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists in 2008.
“Come and stay in India and Mumbai. You are most welcome. You and your all family members will get long term visas. So you can come anytime and go anywhere,” Modi told the boy during the meeting.
Moshe started his welcome speech for Modi in Hindi, saying “Aapka swagat hai humare desh mein”.
“I want to ask you something from all of us: Please continue to love me forever. Thank you. And always remember my parents.
“I live in Afula, but I remember our connection to Nariman House... I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai and when I get older, I live there... Dear Mr Modi I love you and the people in India,” Moshe said.
The boy gifted a photo to Modi.
“Thank you for your very very special gift,” Modi said with affection.
Moshe was two when his parents Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, serving as emissaries of Chabad in Mumbai, were killed along with six others by terrorists at the Nariman House, also popularly known as Chabad House.
The Nariman House was one of the five places targeted by the terrorists, killing 166 people.
Moshe now lives with his grandparents -- Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit Rosenberg. He now goes to a yeshiva (religious school). He is still very attached to his nanny Sandra who works in Jerusalem and joins the family over the weekends.
Israel honoured Sandra with an honorary citizenship in September 2010.
She works with young kids in Jerusalem during the week and joins the Rosenberg family during the weekends.
Before the meeting Modi, Moshe’s grandfather had said he wanted to do his grandson’s ‘bar mitvah’, a ceremony performed for Jewish boys at the age of 13 which Indian scholars in Israel compare with upnayana or the thread ceremony, in Mumbai for which he would invite Modi.
All photographs: Press Information Bureau