Interior Ministry may give 'righteous gentile' status to woman who saved toddler from Mumbai attack.
By ABE SELIGPublished: NOVEMBER 30, 2008 13:54Advertisement
The nanny who saved two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg from the attack at Mumbai's Chabad House on Thursday is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday along with the child, his grandparents and the bodies of his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg.
The Holtzbergs were killed together with four others in the attack, which ended on Friday.
Sandra Samuel, who was photographed as she ran out of the building with the small boy in her arms, has been lauded as a hero by Chabad and the child's surviving family. She expressed a desire to accompany Moshe back to Israel on a special flight sent by the Israel Air Force. The toddler was reunited with his Israeli grandparents, Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg, on Friday.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that her office was working to arrange for Samuel's arrival in Israel, while the Interior Ministry was considering bestowing upon her the status of "Righteous Gentile," which would allow her to remain in the country for an extended period of time.
Menachem Brod, a spokesman for Chabad in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that Samuel was "extremely connected to the child. She wants very badly to come to Israel and to be with Moshe."
The only obstacle, according to Brod, was the paperwork.
"From what I understand, she doesn't hold any passport," he said. "But we're working with the Foreign Ministry and the various consulates, and ideally, she'll be able to board the [IAF flight]."
According to Chabad, Samuel worked at the center for about five years, starting as a cook. After Moshe was born, she also helped care for him. His second birthday was on Saturday.
As the terrorists stormed into the Chabad House on Wednesday evening, Samuel locked herself into a downstairs room with another staff member. On Thursday morning, she heard Moshe calling her name and braved the volatile situation, later telling reporters that she had been "scared, but even more scared for the baby."
Slowly opening the door, Samuel saw a deserted staircase and ran up one flight. She found Moshe, his pants covered in blood, crying beside his parents and two Israeli guests who lay motionless on the floor. Samuel then grabbed the child and ran outside.
Moshe's parents and the two guests were confirmed dead the following day after Indian commandos stormed the building and killed the remaining terrorists in a battle that raged for hours.
Some of the victims were reportedly found wrapped in prayer shawls in accordance with Jewish burial tradition, which fueled speculation that this had been done by one of the hostages.
According to unconfirmed reports attributed to Indian security sources, commandos found most of the hostages bound and gagged, apparently having been shot long before Indian forces dropped to the building's roof from a helicopter on Thursday night.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report
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