Rivlin lights memorial candle at Mumbai Chabad House.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN/GPO)
MUMBAI – The bullet holes from Mumbai’s terrorist attack eight years ago this month still mark a small wall in the Chabad House where six people lost their lives.
Next to the wall hangs a photograph of two of the victims, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife, Rivka, two Israeli emissaries from Chabad who had opened the center in a five-story apartment building off a crowded street in 2006.
On Monday evening, President Reuven Rivlin walked up the second floor and lit a candle in their memory, as his last act before leaving India after an eight-day trip.
“Terrorism will never win,” he said, as he stood at a wooden podium surrounded by dozens of reporters.
Rivlin recalled how the Holtzbergs’ son, Moshe, then two, had been saved by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, both of whom now live in Israel.
“We will never forget her bravery,” Rivlin said.
He recalled how in a recent visit to his Jerusalem resident Moshe, now 10, had told him “the Jewish people lives.”
The attack on Chabad House by an Islamist terrorist group based in Pakistan
was one of a dozen attacks throughout the city from November 26 to November 29, 2008, claiming 164 victims.
Rivlin said he had stopped in Mumbai to honor all the victims of the attack. Before visiting Chabad House, he had also laid a blue and white wreath at the site of another attack during those fours days, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
“We came here on our way [home] to pay our respects in the name of Israel to the victims of November 26, 2008,” Rivlin said. “We came to say that terrorism is terrorism is terrorism no matters where it occurs, without differentiating between people. It doesn’t strike just Jews, but rather strikes anyplace it can achieve its objective.”
Terrorism has reared its head both in India and Israel, Rivlin noted.
“Here we see that the Jewish people lives, and in the Taj Mahal Palace we see that the world knows that there is no other option but to deal with terrorism until its extinguished, ” Rivlin said.
Earlier in the evening he spoke of how India and Israel must work together to defeat terrorism.
“Israel and India stand shoulder to shoulder in this fight,” said Rivlin, repeating a theme that had occurred throughout his visit.
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, who also spoke at the ceremony, said, “We are grateful to Israel for standing with India.”