Noida: Moshe Holtzberg, the Jewish toddler who survived the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, is “doing well”, growing up in a “complicated situation” with his grandparents, and Tel Aviv thanks Indians for saving him, the Israeli envoy here has said.
“He is going to school. He is a very healthy, happy and a strong kid, growing up under a very complicated situation,” Ambassador Alon Ushpiz said during an hour-long meeting with editors at the IANS office here.
“He is growing up without his parents. This obviously isn’t easy. He’s staying with his grandparents,” the envoy said. “Also, in this case, an Israeli was saved by an Indian citizen. His nanny took him out.”
Ushpiz recollected he was chief operating officer with the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem when the 26/11 attack took place. He did not go home for three days but stayed on to monitor the developments.
“It was under very complicated circumstances. I have to tell you I have a lot of admiration for your agencies in 26/11. Israel is very realistic and sober when it comes to these situations because of our own horrible experiences,” he said.
“There were two big terrorist actions against Israelis in India – 26/11 by the Pakistan agencies, the other one was Iran. In both cases Israelis were saved by Indians.”
The second attack he referred to was one on an Israeli diplomat in the capital in February 2012.
When IANS spoke on phone to Moshe’s grandparents in November, he was with them in Afula, a city in north Israel, 140 km from Jerusalem. They said he was growing into a self-assured lad and was like any other seven-year-old boy.
Moshe was just two when Pakistani terrorists laid siege at the five-storey Chabad House, also called Nariman House, during the 26/11 carnage. Six Israelis, including Moshe’s parents — Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivka — were killed.
But Moshe had a miraculous escape thanks to his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel. She risked her life to rescue the toddler who was sitting beside the blood-soaked bodies of his parents, crying. Since then she hasn’t left him and was given Israeli citizenship.